Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Should Provincial Leaders Endorse Federal Candidates?

Stock Photo – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne | Photo Credit: Corporate Video Production Toronto by Joseph Morris
Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand signs the writs for the 42nd general election.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand signs the writs for the 42nd general election.

It’s the longest federal election campaign in recent history: an eleven week journey that could very well be captured on daytime television as a drama series.

And why not? Its very announcement gave the country reason to debate! Most campaigns run their course in four to five weeks, with voters itching to get to the polls, if for no reason other than to celebrate the end of robo-calls and attack ads. This one will end up costing taxpayers even more than their trust when the phone rings.

The controversies and debates are endless, from who knew what on the Duffy file to certain candidates’ “readiness” to govern.

But what has us scratching our heads this week is whether or not provincial leaders have any role in sharing their support of federal candidates.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has been far from quiet on her support of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, supporting him in a Toronto rally and openly criticizing the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair (her on-going criticism of Prime Minister Stephen Harper hasn’t been limited to #elxn42).

Premier Brad Wall has yet to outwardly show support for a federal party, but did send a letter to Mulcair, Trudeau and Harper. Included were questions surrounding equalization payments, pipeline policy, and — to really bring this back to agriculture — genetically modified organisms.

“I’m just concerned a little bit about GMOs, about the national position of parties on something that’s vital to Saskatchewan — crop science, and the genetically modified technologies that we’ve been using successfully,” he said.

Perhaps Wall won’t endorse a leader, as he recently suggested in an interview with CBC, but most voters know where he stands on these issues, which will boil a whole new kettle of fish should he receive and publish the leaders’ answers.

Then, there are those premiers who would rather sit quietly on the bench (even if their newly elected government may have been called a “disaster” by Stephen Harper himself).

“It’s certainly not my intention, as I’ve said, to actively engage in this federal campaign other than where necessary to correct the record with respect to the work of this provincial government,” said Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley. “It should be a race between the candidates who are running to be prime minister and the candidates who are running to be MPs in the House of Commons.”

And that brings us to this week’s Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down question, where we take a complicated topic and make it as black and white as possible — Should provincial leaders publicly endorse their preferred federal candidate?

See past Thumbs Up, Thumbs down posts here!

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