Shane Mackenzie

By: Lindsay Maskell

Advance polls open this morning across Canada and political parties are working to lock down support by urging voters to cast early ballots this Thanksgiving weekend. Persuasive campaign events were essential this week to shape opinion as families gather to tuck in to turkey and talk politics at a key decision-making time.

Electors in advance polls make up a huge number of votes, and they could sway results in a tight campaign. In the last Federal election in 2011, more than 2.1 million Canadians cast a ballot in an advance poll — that’s about 14 per cent of the total number of voters. This week we saw two different approaches to sway last minute support captured in our images of the week.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau held a rally in Brampton in a hockey arena boasting 7000 attendees. Introduced by his wife and endorsed by many in a slick video, the campaign’s goal was to drive the message of momentum for the Liberals to sway support. The energy and strong visuals filled a quiet news day last Sunday as TPP announcements were delayed until Monday.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper made an election pitch straight at young families Wednesday, proposing changes to the employment insurance system that would extend maternity and parental leave benefits to eighteen months. The Conservative campaign made a strategic reach to a demographic that needed to see a softer side of Stephen Harper. The campaign shared this compelling image on Instagram of Harper chatting with a little girl. The endearing image, and message paired with more of a focus on the economy instead of the Niqab this week, allows for less divisive dining room conversations as families gather for the long weekend.

Advance polls give early vital insight into how campaigns are faring in key ridings and polls. The data will help shape the final days of this election. So don’t forget to be thankful, and vote this weekend.