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New partisan groups are using negative advertising to try to influence the way Canadians vote.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

The most annoying buzzing you will hear this summer will not be coming from mosquitoes and blackflies. No, it will be emanating from all the fake-earnest political action groups trying to get inside your head.

The newest one is called HarperPAC, a group of high-level Conservative operatives whose mission is to "defend the interests of everyday Canadians against the tide of cash from professional leftist agitators and big union bosses that has been earmarked to take down the Conservative government."

Of course, the "leftist agitators and big union bosses" only started their own groups because Conservative organizations "like Working Canadians and Conservative Voice have spent millions protecting wealthy conservative interests and monopolizing political discussion in Canada," according to Engage Canada, which was created this year by high-level Liberal and NDP operatives.

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This is what Canada's democracy has come to – tit-for-tat partisan groups raising millions of dollars unhindered by election laws and spending it, again without restriction, on negative advertising. It is an exercise fuelled by a common disregard for solid facts, with each side spouting convenient half-truths and twisting opponents' words in an effort to confirm your biases and/or scare you out of exploring your options.

It's not yet clear what impact these groups' efforts will have at the federal level, as they are still relatively new. Election laws will prevent them from spending more than $205,800 once an election is called, which is good. But that's not their goal. They want to influence voters between campaigns. Now that Canada has fixed federal election dates, these groups will have more opportunities to affect voters' thinking in the long lead-up to every general vote.

It's going to be confusing for Canadians. It won't be clear to them what the affiliations of the various groups are. The greatest risk is that these negative and cynically presented campaigns will further alienate the electorate. Wise voters will drown out the noise and wait for the election campaign, and prefer not to be influenced by disingenuous groups who say they are looking out for you but are really working in the interest of political parties.

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