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Election time again

September 7th, 2008

If you think that we seem to have a lot of federal elections in Canada, you are not wrong. Since June 2007, we have had five elections (including the one in October 200) or about one every 27 months.

For those of you proponents of a porportional representation system in Canadian politics, this should be a wake up call. Minority governments require a spirit of cooperation, deal making, etc. that we don’t see here. Even in majority parliament, the government will still call an election in only three years (Cretien) if it seems to be in their advantage to do so.

It must be hard to work in the federal civil service when you are almost always either a few months from an election or a few months removed from one.

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  1. Harold Jarche
    September 7th, 2008 at 20:08 | #1

    I thought we had 4 year, fixed election dates? Did someone spit on an Act that he initiated?

  2. David Campbell
    September 7th, 2008 at 21:54 | #2

    I can’t go that far because something tells me that the other parties would display similar political opportunism.

  3. Dan F
    September 8th, 2008 at 01:09 | #3

    Canadians chose a minority government, but the Harperites just can’t play in the same sandpit as everyone else without throwing an ADHD hissy fit.

    These neoconservatives as pretty scary, eh? Harper’s Karla Homolka eyes alone should be enough to clear sane people away.

    But, with the oil richness, we seem to have taken on that Bushist trait of screwing the weak and damning ourselves at every turn, rather than admit we’ve made a mistake or taking a different tact when the ship starts heading for jagged rocks.

    To really allow the neo-cons to get hold of affairs in Canada, well – the traditional, just wanting their own piece of the action conservative should get pretty anxious too, given Bushite fortunes of late.

    Dow down over 15% YTD?

    Ouch… Yeah, let’s get that program going up there in Canada toute suite, smart guys.

  4. mikel
    September 8th, 2008 at 13:12 | #4

    That may be true but misses the point. IF Canada had a system of PR there would be no point in calling an election-parties would HAVE to work together, because there would be no way in hell either party could get the majority they both covet. It is because there is so much to gain, and little to lose that governing parties play the election game. The liberals were no different, Martin called an election because he thought he could get a majority based on poll data.

    However, that’s a flippant remark that doesn’t come from reality but from media, which only focuses on conflicts. Provincially, Nova Scotia passed up to a third more legislation last year under a minority government than NB does under a majority.

    The business community hates minority government because populist issues become prominent (because parties are competing for votes). In NB, like in Canada, it hasn’t been a big deal because BOTH major parties are industry parties. Harper has been more ‘liberal’ than Martin ever was. I’ve always been surprised that Graham cancelled the PR referendum because there’s little chance it would have ‘passed’-most people have no idea what it is, or even how bad the current system is-and far too often believe comments like the one made here-that it ‘cant work’ because canadian parties can’t work together.

    Again, thats untrue, even at the federal level there has been FAR more legislation than in NB. New Brunswick has the unique distinction of not only being last in many economic indicators, but also in democratic ones. The province passes FAR less legislation than other provinces, even Newfoundland and PEI. And by far most of the legislation concerns industry-and not adding ‘red tape’ as NBT may claim (except in rare occasions like uranium mining where the public and the issue became so inflamed the government had to do something).

    But the media loves to play up the ‘conflicts’, and of course there are plenty of those, but they pale in comparison with the points of agreement. Policy wise there is little difference between conservatives and liberals, the only difference is that they rotate what the say according to whether they are in opposition or government. This has been apparant since the first minority government under Martin-you can go look at the federal website and howdtheyvote.ca and see that under minorities party politics was weakening, and legislation was largely supported by liberals and conservatives, and opposed by the bloc and NDP. Again, this is virtually NEVER covered in media, which likes to give the illusion that canada has a ‘thriving democracy’.

    It’s a moot point as PR is way off the radar federally, and that shows the disdain parties have for canadians. It was said after the 92 referendum that because canadians ‘didn’t vote the way they were supposed to’ that we wouldn’t see another referendum for a hundred years-and that was 15 years ago and there hasn’t been one since.

  5. nbt
    September 9th, 2008 at 01:43 | #5

    If you think that we seem to have a lot of federal elections in Canada, you are not wrong. Since June 2007, we have had five elections (including the one in October 200) or about one every 27 months.

    We’ve had three since 2004. Where are you getting five. Did you mean 1997?

  6. Anonymous
    September 9th, 2008 at 08:41 | #6

    If you think that we seem to have a lot of federal elections in Canada, you are not wrong. Since June 2007, we have had five elections (including the one in October 200) or about one every 27 months

    Typical liberal math,or just NB illiteracy.

  7. David Campbell
    September 9th, 2008 at 09:44 | #7

    My typing skills need work but my math skills are okay. The five elections were:
    June 1997
    November 2000
    June 2004
    January 2006
    October 2008

    Or about one every 27 months.

  8. mikel
    September 9th, 2008 at 11:23 | #8

    This is from Fairvote.ca (an organization people should think about joining):

    TEN LOWEST POINTS IN CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONS 1980-2004

    10) In the 1990s, Canada ranks 109th among 163 nations in voter turnout.

    9) In 1984, the Progressive Conservatives win 50% of the votes but gain nearly 75% of the seats.

    8) In 2004, more than 500,000 Green voters fail to elect a single MP anywhere, while fewer than 500,000 Liberal voters in Atlantic Canada alone elect 22 Liberal MPs.

    7) In 2000, twenty-two candidates become MPs despite winning less than 40% of the votes in their ridings.

    6) The 2004 election produces a House with only 21% women MPs, with Canada now ranking 36th among nations in percentage of women MPs, well behind most Western European countries.

    5) In 1993, the newly formed Bloc Quebecois comes in fourth in the popular vote, but forms the Official Opposition by gaining more seats than the second place Reform Party and third place Tories.

    4) In 2000, 2.3 million Liberal voters in Ontario elect 100 Liberal MPs while the other 2.2 million Ontario voters elect only 3 MPs from other parties.

    3) In 1993, more than two million votes for Kim Campbell’s Progressive Conservatives translate into two seats – or one seat for every 1,000,000 votes. Meanwhile, the voting system gives the Liberal Party one seat for every 32,000 votes.

    2) In 1984, when competing for the Liberal leadership, Jean Chretien tells reporters in Brandon, Manitoba, he would introduce proportional representation “right after the next election” if he became prime minister.

    1) In 1993, Jean Chretien wins the election and begins his ten-year reign as prime minister. In three elections, he never wins more than 42% of the popular vote, but still forms “majority” governments thanks to the current voting system. He never gets around to introducing proportional representation.

    And of course we can add three stories New Brunswickers are familiar with- in 1987 Frank McKenna gets 60% of the votes and wins every single seat in the legislature.

    In virtually a two party race Shawn Graham gets fewer votes than Bernard Lord but still ‘wins’ a majority government. A familiar win to Hatfield’s in the seventies.

    According to Fairvote, New Brunswick, which really only has two parties, has had the LEAST representative government of all provinces in Canada (that stat is at their website).

    Add to that a Premier who cancels a planned referendum on PR and a media (even some bloggers) who constantly refer to the results of the last election as a loss for the tories and you can see why voter turnout is plummeting. That we adults do little to try to change this (even PREFERRING an unfair electoral system) is reason enough for young people to think the government is a joke.

    So finally, use this as a wake up call-check out fairvote.ca and get involved in the REAL political movement of our time.

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