The CAQ spends three times more than its opponents on Facebook
Prime Minister François Legault./Josie Desmarais/Métro
Even though the provincial election campaign hasn’t officially started, the big seduction has. The main parties, with the CAQ leading the pack, are already investing in promotional content on Facebook.
Over the past 90 days, the ruling party has invested nearly $36,000 to increase the visibility of its social media posts. Of this sum, nearly $5,000 was invested specifically in the page of Prime Minister François Legault.
Questioned by Metro, the CAQ did not wish to expand on the place of advertisements on social networks in its electoral campaign. “Advertising and communication strategies are the internal management of the party. We use several means at our disposal, including Facebook, to reach the population,” said press officer Sarah Bigras.
In second place? The Conservative Party
The Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) ranks second in Facebook ad spend. A sum of $10,500 has been invested over the last three months. The political party, however, has a different strategy from that of the CAQ: the entire amount was placed in the account of the leader, Éric Duhaime. No posts from the party page were powered by funds.
In an exchange with Metro, the party says it is limiting its advertising spending on social networks to $2,000. “We would like to be able to do more, but we do not have the million dollar budget available to the CAQ in this pre-campaign period to make so many advertising placements,” said the PCQ via email.
“The CAQ does a lot of advertising everywhere, and not just on social networks. We see it, we know it, ”adds the party.
The PQ's advertising budget shows similar amounts, at nearly $10,000. Almost the entirety of this sum was placed in the party page. Québec solidaire has invested more than $7,500 in Facebook, and the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) has limited itself to around $6,500.
No supervision before the election campaign
Parties may invest in advertising campaigns before the election is called as they wish, “provided that these expenses are paid by the party from funds raised in accordance with the law, and that they are compiled in the annual financial report of the gone,” says Elections Quebec at Metro.
In 2018, Elections Quebec noticed that spending to influence voter choice had increased. “However, the cases observed did not allow us to conclude that the principles of transparency and fairness, at the base of the rules of political financing and control of election expenses, were compromised. Our observations therefore did not justify recommending a legislative amendment to impose a limit on pre-election expenses.
Élections Québec collects the expenses of political parties in order to analyze whether, in the long term, a reform of the legislative framework for advertising would be necessary.
The hour of the balance sheet
During the last 90 days, the CAQ has focused its advertisements in the presentation of its new candidates, but also in the inventory of actions that have been undertaken during the last mandate. The party highlights in particular the creation of a court specializing in matters of sexual violence, the agreement with New York for the export of hydroelectricity and the adoption of Law 21 on secularism.
The other parties content themselves above all with producing advertisements concerning the presentation of their new candidates.
The provincial elections will take place on October 3rd. The official election campaign should be launched no later than August 29.