The photo op. Talking points. Those attack ads that everyone loves to hate. Why do parties seemingly use the same tactics in election campaign after election campaign?
It’s all about control, according to party insiders from the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP. And there is a well-considered, well-thought-out reason for almost everything you see and hear in the lead-up to October’s election day in Canada.
Using their behind-the-scenes experiences — and some historical examples — CBC’s Power and Politics host Vassy Kapelos pulls back the curtain on some of the most well-worn, oft-used tactics of political campaigns.
You know them when you hear them. The same lines, repeated over and over and over, by the party leader and candidates — so often that, by the end of the campaign, you can recite the lines right along with them.
But that’s only one reason parties rely so heavily on talking points.
A leader, a podium and a carefully chosen backdrop of “everyday Canadians.” That’s what the campaign photo op has, for the most part, evolved into these days. Parties know a photo op can make or break a campaign. Those that go well just fade into memory.
Those that don’t can haunt a leader for years — even decades — after the vote.
Going into every election, many leaders pledge to run a positive campaign. And study after study suggests Canadians don’t like negativity — either on the campaign trail, or in the ads they see on TV or in social media. So why do so many parties rely on them come election time? Insiders say they have impact.
But they can backfire, too.
There doesn’t have to be an election going on to prompt a tidal wave of news and information in your favourite feeds. But it is increasingly impossible to assume that all of it is accurate or even true. So how do you discern the real from the fake?
Here’s a short primer on what to look for and how to protect yourself from falling for election disinformation and misinformation.
They’ve been part of the Canadian election landscape since 1968. And a lot of time and energy is spent preparing party leaders for the main, televised campaign debate. They draw big audiences, but do they change votes?
On this question, party strategists and political scientists diverge.