Meet the Press - Macleans.ca
 

Meet the Press


 

David Akin would like some answers.

Canada held general elections in 1917, in 1940 and again in 1945. In both those years, Canadians were making incredible efforts and incredible sacrifices to fight world wars. We managed to win those wars — and hold general elections. You don’t think the Canadian public nowadays can handle a general election and little old economic recovery at the same time?


 

Meet the Press

  1. What is David Akin doing working for Canwest?

    • That's where he ended up after CTV "reassigned" him for revealing that Ian Brodie was the source behind the NAFTA-Gate leak that may have cost Obama the Ohio primary.

  2. No doubt naysayers will point out that there was nothing between the 1940 and 1945 election, and if I recall my history it was pushed back because of the war.

  3. But Canadians don’t want our democracy. In fact, we should not hold another election until polling indicates that a majority of Canadians want one. Of course, that means there wouldn’t be one, saving only the limit on the length of any Parliament at 5 years. Presumably the fixed election date law is a farce, and would not force an election in four years.

    • Given that holding a general election "on the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following polling day for the last general election" is one of the few things that Bill C-16 actually made law (though the Monday can be changed to the subsequent Tuesday or following Monday at the discretion of the Chief Electoral Officer), it would in fact force an election in four years.

      (October 15, 2012, for the curious.)

      • That was in the exact same clause that promised us the first election would be October 19th of this year. You really think that half the clause can be ignored but the other half is still valid?

  4. But we didn't have elections in 1940, 1942, 1943…

    • The point being, we held elections and the country did ok, life went on, the apparatus of government did not come to a halt.

      i.e. ignore Harper's scaremongering. The problem for him is the same problem Martin faced in 2006: without the scaremongering, he has nothing to go on, so expect him to ramp up the lies and scaremongering even more on the theory that the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it.

  5. We also didn't have a minority government in 1940.

  6. "What we have is a situation where the prime minister is able to choose the date of the election, not based necessarily on the best interests of the country but on the best interests of his or her political party. I believe Bill C-16 would address those concerns. . . . "Instead of the Prime Minister and a small group of advisers being the only ones who know when the country will move into the next general election, when this bill is passed, all Canadians will have that knowledge, which makes it fair. . . . This Prime Minister will live by the law and spirit of this particular piece of legislation. He and this government are driving this democratic reform. ”

    — Hon. Rob Nicholson (then-Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform), speaking in the House of Commons on September 18, 2006 about the fixed election date measures in Bill C-16, which became law on May 3, 2007)

    • Oh can we refight wage and price controls as well….

      • We're talking about the hypocrisy of the current Prime Minister and the ease with which he (a) breaks his promises for personal gain, (b) thinks nothing about putting Canadians through an election during a recession if he sees a political opening for his personal gain and (c) thinks Canadian voters are stupid.

  7. If you factor in the cost of everyone's plumbing, the need to replace your toilet(s) every few years, the price tag for municipal sewage systems and waste treatment facilities, plus the millions and millions of rolls of toilet paper required, it's a wonder 71% of Canadians are still willing to take a dump during this economic recovery.

    • I congratulate you for the most relevant political commentary to appear on this blog for a long, long time. Well done.

      • Seems his content was more valuable and of a healthier nature than what Harper's been dumping (and missing photo ops) for…

  8. Where does calling a surprise election in the midst of economic instability in the Fall of 2008 fit into the CONservative narrative?

    Canadians thought we were a year away from an election last fall when Harper thought he could finish off Dion for good. Yes there is instability in the process but it is in the mind of Stephen Harper.

    • "Where does calling a surprise election in the midst of economic instability in the Fall of 2008 fit into the CONservative narrative? "

      Not that it matters but the whole, economic instability thing didnt rear its ugly head till the middle of the election….much to all and sundry's surprise.

      "Canadians thought we were a year away from an election last fall…"

      I seem to rememeber numerous threats for elections being issued by Mr Dion, him musing that an election was his choice and in fact he came in for criticism because he kept backing off his threats…..Canadians werent sure when an election was going to happen, did I miss the standstill agreement that Mr Dion signed?

      • That's disingenuous. Anybody who was paying attention saw it coming long before. Presumably, that's why Harper was in such a rush.

  9. Seems it's not all that difficult after all for journalists to point out the misinformation that passes for fact from some politicians.

  10. Fixed election dates in a minority situation are a complete and utter farce….they are meant to prevent a majority governemnt doing what Chretien and Petersen did. Chretien almost paid a big price and Petersen did.

    I actually dont think you need a fixed election law at all, law of the jungle (ie the electorate) will take care of it, just ask David Petersen.

  11. The simple fact is that most Canadians don't want an election right now, and no torqued historical analogies will change that.

    • did they want one in 1917, in 1940 and again in 1945 CR?

      I doubt there is any time when many Canadians assess their own desires for an election except at the extremes. Elections are part of living in a democracy, they are bound to be more frequent when in situations of minority government played under our conventions. There are no serious consequences to having an election (besides one's preferred winner may well suffer, regardless of what their internal polls might say). As such, I think 'whether Canadians want an election' is irrelevant, they will either have one or they won't and they are free to do what they want with it.

      • I have no idea how many Canadians wanted an election in 1917, 1940, and 1945, but I suspect it was much more than it is now. Good question, though.

        As such, I think 'whether Canadians want an election' is irrelevant, they will either have one or they won't and they are free to do what they want with it.

        I completely agree that it is irrelevant with regards to our democratic system, but it will be relevant in terms of Canadians expressing their frustration at the polls. Iggy probably should have waited until 2010, at least.

        • I think I tend to agree with Matt before CR, while you have criticized the instability argument elsewhere, I think that Akin's only point… so, we generally agree… I guess i too got caught of a bit by what i now see as your non sequitor response (as opposed to you revisiting your position on ('instability').

          As for it being a good question, I am not sure. I more or less meant it to be more rhetorically. We never do or will know how many people want an election, not to mention that people's feelings about having the election can evolve during a campaign.

          But, I do disagree with you comment below that there is no compelling reason for a fall election. I think there are a number (hence, I want an election). I think that the treatment of Canadians abroad, how we deal with our current deficit position and additional national debt and a series of unresolved issues (that SH had said he was going to act on) including our continued lack of a climate change policy, democratic reform and an articulation of our foreign policy re Canada's place in the world are all compelling policy reasons for an election.

          it should be noted of course, this is not to say that Iggy is not pursuing what he sees as best for his own partisan interests.

    • Normally you're pretty good at staying on point, so this comment is a bit surprising. The point of this post was not to make an argument about what Canadians do or do not want. The point was to counter the argument that many Conservatives are making, that elections create "instability" and that it is irresponsible to hold them during time of national crisis. Its hardly a "torqued" historical analogy.

      • I've already gone on record criticizing the Conservative argument that elections will create instability. I just don't think that many historians would agree that Akin's analogy makes sense in this context. Four elections in five years is unprecedented in Canadian history, and there is a lack of a compelling reason to force an election now. It's just political gamesmanship.

        • In regards to political gamesmanship, nothing could possibly beat the illegal election of 2008.

          Frankly, the 'political instability' that we are constantly whinging about is a product of the fact that Mr. Harper cannot put politics aside and just govern the damn country for a while. Virtually everything he does is with a view to destroy his opponents.

          • Then get your government to work with parliament. They have that option sir…

    • Most Canadians want leaders who actually try to govern the country, and who don't spend all their time on partisan squabbling and plotting. And most Canadians want a government that represents all regions of the country. But we're not getting that either.

      And the main reason why we are having so many elections appears to be because Stephen Harper seems unable to collaborate with anyone other than himself or accept any opinion other than his own.

  12. If Canada keeps electing minority Parliaments, Canada will have to just buck up and deal with frequent elections. If Canada truly gets sick of repeated elections, Canada will have to vote-fix its head together to ensure that we get majorities.

    So Harper can say "You see why we need a Conservative majority?" And Canadians can accept or reject that line as they see fit.

    Lousiest system, except for all the others, etc., etc.