A recent Canadian Press story posted on the CTV News website, New Laws Making Arctic Campaigning Difficult, addresses the difficulties federal election candidates are facing in the Canadian north as a result of changes to election laws passed in 2003: S.C. 2003, c. 19 (Bill C-24, 2003), amending the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9 and the Income Tax Act, R.S.C. 1985 (5th Supp), c. 1 . Notably, campaign contribution limits set at $1,000 per company have limited the free flights candidates can accept, making travel to actually campaign a real difficulty.
From the article:
"The new campaign laws mean that airlines can no longer donate tickets to candidates, even thought they've done it for all candidates in the past," said Jack Hicks, an agent for Nunavut NDP candidate Amanda Ford-Rogers.
With no road links at all in Nunavut and sketchy highways and winter roads in the N.W.T., air travel is critical in the North. It's also expensive.
The $1,000 limit doesn't even cover the cost of a single flight between Yellowknife and Inuvik, said Mark Heyck, manager for N.W.T. NDP hopeful Dennis Bevington.
It goes to show you that, when it comes to changes in some of our key federal legislation, you never know where one fix will create a problem elsewhere. The article goes on to describe how candidates are having to become creative to obtain flights.
Perhaps we should all be donating air miles? That is, if the airlines that fly in the appropriate places even accept air miles….