Unions lead third-party pack with big spending since start of pre-election period


Unifor National President Jerry Dias speaks during press conference about the Oshawa General Motors plant closure in Toronto on Friday, January 25, 2019. Two unions are spending big on political messaging already, topping the list of third-party advertiser expenses for the campaign season so far.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — Two unions are spending big on political messaging already, topping the list of third-party advertiser expenses for the campaign season so far.

Unifor has shelled out over $1.2 million since the start of the pre-election period June 30, while the United Steelworkers spent $736,349 even before the official start of the campaign.

Unifor, which has consistently advocated against the Conservatives on behalf of its 315,000 members, spent predominantly on national TV campaigns, according to Elections Canada documents.

The Steelworkers, with 225,000 members in numerous sectors besides steel, produced a mix of TV and radio campaigns in support of the NDP, and also spent money placing versions of those ads in digital media.

Other third parties have also reported spending, including the Canada Growth Council, a pro-energy, pro-free enterprise group that spent almost $100,000; and 350 Canada, an environmentalist group that spent just over $20,000.

Contributions and expenses for the period from June 30 to present are being published in interim returns posted to Elections Canada's website following a Sept. 15 deadline for third parties to report their activities.

The Canadian Press