Third-party political advertising made the news this week, with the emergence of HarperPAC, an independent pro-Conservative campaign group. A similar organization called Engage Canada unveiled its ads this week, criticizing the economic record of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party.These groups can be compared to American “SuperPACs”, Political Action Committees that aren’t attached to a politician, but independently raise and spend their own money. SuperPACs have plenty of critics in the United States, but they also have defenders.
Scott Blackburn is a Research Fellow at the Center for Competitive Politics, a privately-funded First Amendment and campaign finance focused legal and advocacy group.
He says SuperPACs and their ads are a benefit to American democracy – and cautions Canada against too tightly restricting what third parties can do.