Election 2019: Three things that change when the writ is dropped

Faye Roberts   

Industry Government Manufacturing election government manufacturing

Enforce your policy around political visits, review party platforms and watch for opportunities to meet local candidates.

In a federal election, the “dropping of the writ” is the equivalent of the firing of the starting gun at the beginning of a race – it signals the official beginning of the campaign, in which parties, candidates and leaders are in full election mode and activating their plans to win your vote.

The media will be buzzing with news of the writ dropping when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Governor General to officially request the House of Commons be dissolved. The Governor General then issues a proclamation that the ‘writs of election’ be issued, formally kicking off the campaign leading up to the vote on Oct. 21.

The dropping of the writ means three things:

1. The official election begins


The formal campaign starts, and the leaders really hit the road to criss-cross the country, meeting voters and promoting their platforms. There are campaign buses and sometimes campaign planes. It’s also when local candidates move into high gear, door-knocking and finding every opportunity to meet voters who live in their ridings.

2. The rules change

Rules specific to election campaigns kick in. Parties and candidates must abide by election-period spending limits and third parties must also follow rules about advertising during the campaign. Additionally, government institutions cannot advertise unless there is a public safety aspect or a legal obligation. As you might expect, the rules are laid out in detail and can be found at Elections Canada.

3. Government functions are stable yet stalled

Government doesn’t stop functioning during an election. You still have access to established government services and government staff throughout the campaign. Where government activity slows is around programs that have not been fully implemented or new projects and initiatives that require governing decisions. These will remain on hold until after the election, when the new governing party is sworn in and can offer direction based on its platform.

For businesses, the official writ drop signals when you should enforce your policy around political visits, review party platforms and watch for opportunities to meet local candidates. Even though this federal election campaign will run longer than most, time goes by quickly and it’s important to absorb as much information as possible to ensure you capitalize on opportunities to advocate for your business.


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