I recently heard Preston Manning speak about the early days of the Reform Party. When he started pollsters said only 15% of Canadians rated debt and deficits as a top concern. Then along came the Taxpayers Federation in 1990 to advocate for debt reduction. They drove around the country with their debt clock. Twenty years later over 60% of Canadians rated debt as a major concern. Preston Manning says the Reform Party could not have succeeded without the help of organizations like the Taxpayers Federation.
One of my platform ideas is that we need to work better with and encourage the growth of a right wing eco-system of advocacy organizations. Currently the left has a significant advantage in both the number and size of these organizations. During elections these advocacy organizations play a major role as they can spend money and provide manpower. Between elections they work to change attitudes. If you wonder why society is moving leftward it is as a result of these organizations.
A political party is an organization that is created in order to win elections so as to implement its platform. This usually means it has a broad platform in order to win as many votes as possible. Successful political parties are made of large coalitions.
An advocacy organization is created to promote a specific topic or idea. For example
- Greenpeace — the environment,
- Taxpayer’s Federation — lower taxes,
- Unions — labor rights,
- Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights — firearm rights
- Canada 2020 — progressive policies
- Fraser Institute — free market policies
Advocacy organizations lead with the promotion of ideas.
Political parties follow after the ideas have become popular with the public.
During elections the advocacy organizations can register as “Third Parties” with Elections Canada. This enables them to spend money and human assets but within limits. For example in the upcoming election you can spend $525,700 overall with a maximum of $4,506 per electoral district.
In between elections advocacy organizations can spend whatever they want. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to oppose our oil and gas industry as well as pipelines. Much of this money has come from outside of Canada.
The resources available to the left wing organizations are at least one hundred times bigger than the Conservative Party of Canada. Unions have whole departments dedicated to political advocacy funded by their member’s dues. The green movement is massive with new organizations sprouting up like weeds. Often these are funded by the super wealthy. Progressive think tanks like Canada 2020 are funded by Canada’s big corporations which mostly support the left.
It is no longer the Conservative Party against the Liberals, Greens and NDP. We are now also fighting an army of left wing groups with massive budgets and manpower.
In the 2015 Federal Election only three of over one hundred registered third parties were for center right issues. See the list at the link.
In the 2019 election the number of right wing organizations grew but still far behind the left. See the list at the link.
My Advocacy Organization: SolveNow
Despite the obvious need for more right wing advocacy organizations they have been slow in coming. I’ve created one called SolveNow.ca to advocate for free market solutions to public problems. We hope to advertise in 10 BC swing ridings this election.
One advantage of an advocacy organization is that there is no donation limit – you can give any amount. Businesses and other organizations can also contribute any amount. This is a source of funds for right wing advocacy that is not possible for political parties which can only accept up to $1650 from Canadian individuals.
Single Issue Political Party
Greenpeace started in Vancouver in 1971 as a bunch of pot smoking hippies. Today it is a multinational corporation leading a massive movement of similar organizations. There are now Green parties all over the world. The Green Party is an example of where a single issue advocacy organization became a political entity. Despite the massive success of this movement it is still only a minor political player because every Party has a green platform.
While the green movement has been a huge success, the Green Party has not.