The decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in Harper v. Canada was not favourable to Stephen Harper. In a split decision, the Court held that the latest federal campaign spending limits were acceptable. This paper briefly examines the recent history of election financing laws in Canada and looks briefly at three distinct aspects of the Harper decision: The irony of Stephen Harper’s position in the case, evidential and conceptual problems associated with equating commercial speech with political speech, and an examination of whether financial restraints are of declining importance in an era where political influence is more subtly obtained. The paper argues that the Court needs to critically examine the role and efficacy of advertising in the 21st century, and that governments need to understand political influences other than in simple monetary terms and review policy options in this light.
"He Hath a Heart For Harping: Stephen Harper and Election Spending in a Spendthrift Age."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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