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Too many elections? Please.

Barring coalitions, things can only get worse from here on in


 

Which is more annoying?

(1) Politicians in a democracy moaning about the inconvenience of having to audition for their jobs (that is, run for election); or

(2) The innumerate mantra, “four elections in seven years.”

Since No. 1 is merely par for the course among our grumbling political class, perhaps we should strive to erase the second from polite discourse. When Barack Obama runs for re-election next year, not a single American will complain, “two presidential elections in four years, that’s too many; as for two Congressional campaigns in two years… well!”

Yet that’s exactly the way the 4-in-7ers calculate, counting only elections and not the periods in between them. This is actually Canada’s fourth election in 11 years, since the campaign of 2000. That’s one vote every 2.75 years, not too far off the historical average of one every 3.6 years.

As for other parliamentary democracies, the United Kingdom over roughly the same period (from the 1868 election) has had 36 campaigns (one every 3.97 years). Australia, where politicians present themselves for voter approval much more often than their shy, election-averse Canadian brethren do, has had 43 elections in the 110 years since its founding, an impressive pace of an election every 2.55 years.

That would seem to put us in our usual happy place—smack in the middle—but we have exceeded the Australians (and thus our current rate) before. Counting via the 4-in-7 manner, Canada had five elections in the eight years from 1957 to 1965, a cracking one election every 1.6 years rate. Even counting rationally—five elections in the 11-year period from 1957 to 1968 (one every 2.2 years)—that era beat out not just the Aussies but our clearly enfeebled selves.

But think positively. If current voting patterns hold and the very word “coalition” is successfully rendered immoral, illegal and unutterable, our future may well feature annual elections.


 

Too many elections? Please.

  1. Canada's newest insult: "Hey Bobby, yer nothing but a stupid 4in7er!"

  2. Canada's newest insult: "Hey Bobby, yer nothing but a stupid 4in7er!"

    • Now that's clever. I really had a laugh at that one. Good on you!

      • Hahaha, agreed!

  3. I've never understood this 'too many elections' thing….for most people it means taking 10 minutes out of their day at a polling booth 5 minutes from their home. Not exactly a huge sacrifice.

    $300M is $300M whether we spend it this year or next, it's still going to be spent

    The only time I could see it being pointless was when Canadians were undecided, and the polls reflected that….but after the contempt charges and election fraud gave us a cause…then a decison has to be made.

  4. I've never understood this 'too many elections' thing….for most people it means taking 10 minutes out of their day at a polling booth 5 minutes from their home. Not exactly a huge sacrifice.

    $300M is $300M whether we spend it this year or next, it's still going to be spent

    The only time I could see it being pointless was when Canadians were undecided, and the polls reflected that….but after the contempt charges and election fraud gave us a cause…then a decison has to be made.

    • If you look at that as the only factor, we lose $300 million every time an "early call" is less than the alllowable five years. If each election is called six months "early" after 10 elections we will have had one more than "necessary"

      Under the only still functioning part of the fixed election law, we have an "unnecessary" election every 20 years or five elections.

  5. Brian Bethune concludes: "But think positively. If current voting patterns hold and the very word “coalition” is successfully rendered immoral, illegal and unutterable, our future may well feature annual elections."

    :)))))))))))

    I really want to go to that school where they teach you such illogical none sense.

    We will go to the polls every few months if the BQ will be allowed to hold the balance of power in the nation called Canada.

    You really think Canadians will stand behind Ignatieff and Layton when they don't have enough numbers to beat the Conservatives, and need, yes, NEED, the Bloc numbers to make it work?

    You say the Bloc doesn't get the power? Think again! Duceppe is laughing every time the Conservative numbers dip into minority status territory.

  6. Brian Bethune concludes: "But think positively. If current voting patterns hold and the very word “coalition” is successfully rendered immoral, illegal and unutterable, our future may well feature annual elections."

    :)))))))))))

    I really want to go to that school where they teach you such illogical none sense.

    We will go to the polls every few months if the BQ will be allowed to hold the balance of power in the nation called Canada.

    You really think Canadians will stand behind Ignatieff and Layton when they don't have enough numbers to beat the Conservatives, and need, yes, NEED, the Bloc numbers to make it work?

    You say the Bloc doesn't get the power? Think again! Duceppe is laughing every time the Conservative numbers dip into minority status territory.

    • And most Canadians are laughing together with Duceppe. That's the real joke.

      Yearly elections, here we come!

    • Are you referring to the 2008 Liberal, NDP coalition or Harpers 2004 NDP, BLOC coalition? just asking.

    • I suppose you figure we will all be better off and better represented when/if the Bloc becomes the sole official opposition.

      • No, we would all be better off, if the BQ's role within any signed coalition agreement is further explained and understood.

        Today would provide a good example. Harper announced support for the Lower Churchill.

        Now, the BQ leader, Duceppe, was instantly opposed. In fact Duceppe announced his opposition to any help for the Lower Churchill. Now, had there been a coalition government as agreed to in the 2008 signed document, could the Lib/NDP coalition government have counted on the support of the BQ 40 votes, as signed onto in 2008, or would support for the Lower Churchill not have been forthcoming because the BQ opposed such federal decision making?

        It would be darn nice for Canadians to hear answers in such regard, not???

        • “It would be darn nice for Canadians to hear answers”

          It sure would be nice to hear answers, I agree.
          But that isn’t likely with this ‘Harper Government’, if you remember, it was found in ‘Contempt of Parliament’ for not giving honest answers.
          And what happened to more ‘accountability and transparency’? These guys are so full of crap, it’s time for them to go and take their place in history.
          When the ‘Right’ can come up with a respectable leader, maybe I’ll return to voting for them.

        • I believe Jean Charest (Liberal premier, former Conservative MP) also denounced the deal. It's a regional issue, not a "separatist" issue. Deal with it.

  7. And most Canadians are laughing together with Duceppe. That's the real joke.

    Yearly elections, here we come!

  8. Now that's clever. I really had a laugh at that one. Good on you!

  9. Are you referring to the 2008 Liberal, NDP coalition or Harpers 2004 NDP, BLOC coalition? just asking.

  10. Thanks for taking that nonsense and slapping it silly.

  11. Thanks for taking that nonsense and slapping it silly.

  12. Sheesh… I've been waiting and waiting for someone to make this point in a public forum. Thank You. I may need to print it and carry it with me until the election, so that I can share it instantly with those who parrot this 4-in-7 nonsense.

  13. I had been thinking along those same lines lately, that Canadians who complain about too many elections should never move to the states where they hold national, congressional elections every 2 years, with one-third of the Senate and countless other positions being voted on at the same time.

  14. Sheesh… I've been waiting and waiting for someone to make this point in a public forum. Thank You. I may need to print it and carry it with me until the election, so that I can share it instantly with those who parrot this 4-in-7 nonsense.

  15. I had been thinking along those same lines lately, that Canadians who complain about too many elections should never move to the states where they hold national, congressional elections every 2 years, with one-third of the Senate and countless other positions being voted on at the same time.

    • Imagine if we had an elected Senate that the Conservatives so want. The Conservatives would be complaining about having too many Senate elections.

      By the way, I do support an elected Senate–just not the Harper version.

  16. If you look at that as the only factor, we lose $300 million every time an "early call" is less than the alllowable five years. If each election is called six months "early" after 10 elections we will have had one more than "necessary"

    Under the only still functioning part of the fixed election law, we have an "unnecessary" election every 20 years or five elections.

  17. Since we have sometimes gone into a 5th year, and since it's a continuing process for the foreseeable future, there is no 'correct' amount of money for this that we have gone 'over'

  18. I find the whole idea that we have too many elections, or that they somehow threaten the economy or are too expensive, to be highly offensive. I think that when Harper, the media, or anybody else make that claim, they are really expressing a disdain for democracy.

  19. I find the whole idea that we have too many elections, or that they somehow threaten the economy or are too expensive, to be highly offensive. I think that when Harper, the media, or anybody else make that claim, they are really expressing a disdain for democracy.

    • Spoken like a cash and spend Liberal.

      Budget, anyone?

      • No. Just somebody who believes in democracy.

    • There was an article that came out a few days ago that basically showed that election have little-to-no effect on the economy or the dollar, regardless of who wins.

      As far as the expense goes, it's not like the $300m is lost anyway. It's put into the economy.

      • Dig a hole, fill a hole, and the economy LOSES if all we did was spend our money doing nothing useful.

        So no, that is NOT the argument to use in favour of elections as often as necessary. The argument in favour of having (to pay for) elections as often as necessary is that ALL the other alternatives are abhorrent.

  20. I suppose you figure we will all be better off and better represented when/if the Bloc becomes the sole official opposition.

  21. I think the real problem has been that every day in parliament over the last 7 years has seemed like it was in the midst of an election campaign.

  22. I think the real problem has been that every day in parliament over the last 7 years has seemed like it was in the midst of an election campaign.

  23. If we should not be having an election during an economic recovery, we should never had had elections during the Boer War, World War I, and World War II. Elections are essential to a democracy.

  24. If we should not be having an election during an economic recovery, we should never had had elections during the Boer War, World War I, and World War II. Elections are essential to a democracy.

  25. Imagine if we had an elected Senate that the Conservatives so want. The Conservatives would be complaining about having too many Senate elections.

    By the way, I do support an elected Senate–just not the Harper version.

  26. Stephen Harper knows a lot about coalitions.

    Mr. Harper served as President of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2002. National Citizens Coalition is a Canadian conservative lobby group founded in 1967 to oppose the concept of a national health care system.

    National Citizens Coalition supports privatization, tax cuts, government spending cuts and opposes laws that limit spending by non-party organizations during election campaigns. It has been heavily involved in advertising, political campaigns and legal challenges in support of its goals of "more freedom with less government." (ie – less regulation, less enforcement).

    During its almost four decades of existence, the National Citizens Coalition has campaigned against the Canada Health Act.

  27. Stephen Harper knows a lot about coalitions.

    Mr. Harper served as President of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2002. National Citizens Coalition is a Canadian conservative lobby group founded in 1967 to oppose the concept of a national health care system.

    National Citizens Coalition supports privatization, tax cuts, government spending cuts and opposes laws that limit spending by non-party organizations during election campaigns. It has been heavily involved in advertising, political campaigns and legal challenges in support of its goals of "more freedom with less government." (ie – less regulation, less enforcement).

    During its almost four decades of existence, the National Citizens Coalition has campaigned against the Canada Health Act.

    • How would the 2008 NDP/Lib coalition government have solved the Lower Churchill, if the BQ support would disappear like it did today?

      Why are we still talking about things from 10 – 15 years ago, such as the NCC, if it has nothing whatsoever to do with problems Canada faces today? Why not try and solve today's relevant questions?

      • What are you talking about? Funding for Medicare renewal is less than 3 years down the road. If you believe that the ideological leanings of our politicians actually means something, than OF COURSE historical associations and statements matter.

        Its my firm belief that it is exactly this kind of reasoning, that we should only focus on the short-term through data collected in the short-term through methods developed over the short-term that is the cause for much of our intellectual and political malaise.

        The fact that Harper made a career of sorts from bemoaning Canada's institutions and political culture to right wing US "think tanks" definitely matters. This is a man that supported the Reform party's policies of deregulating the financial sector lock step with America, who thought Canada should have participated in the Iraq War, and who coddles with extremists such as Charles McVety who protest museum exhibitions on Darwinism!

        So forgive a skeptical Canadian for not only the most recent sound bytes.

  28. No, we would all be better off, if the BQ's role within any signed coalition agreement is further explained and understood.

    Today would provide a good example. Harper announced support for the Lower Churchill.

    Now, the BQ leader, Duceppe, was instantly opposed. In fact Duceppe announced his opposition to any help for the Lower Churchill. Now, had there been a coalition government as agreed to in the 2008 signed document, could the Lib/NDP coalition government have counted on the support of the BQ 40 votes, as signed onto in 2008, or would support for the Lower Churchill not have been forthcoming because the BQ opposed such federal decision making?

    It would be darn nice for Canadians to hear answers in such regard, not???

  29. How would the 2008 NDP/Lib coalition government have solved the Lower Churchill, if the BQ support would disappear like it did today?

    Why are we still talking about things from 10 – 15 years ago, such as the NCC, if it has nothing whatsoever to do with problems Canada faces today? Why not try and solve today's relevant questions?

  30. We need stability, as it is the government is too bloody slow to get anything done, I want a break!

  31. We need stability, as it is the government is too bloody slow to get anything done, I want a break!

  32. Hahaha, agreed!

  33. “It would be darn nice for Canadians to hear answers”

    It sure would be nice to hear answers, I agree.

    But that isn’t likely with this ‘Harper Government’, if you remember, it was found in ‘Contempt of Parliament’ for not giving honest answers.

    And what happened to more ‘accountability and transparency’? These guys are so full of crap, it’s time for them to go and take their place in history.

    When the ‘Right’ can come up with a respectable leader, maybe I’ll return to voting for them.

  34. Spoken like a cash and spend Liberal.

    Budget, anyone?

  35. No. Just somebody who believes in democracy.

  36. There was an article that came out a few days ago that basically showed that election have little-to-no effect on the economy or the dollar, regardless of who wins.

    As far as the expense goes, it's not like the $300m is lost anyway. It's put into the economy.

  37. What are you talking about? Funding for Medicare renewal is less than 3 years down the road. If you believe that the ideological leanings of our politicians actually means something, than OF COURSE historical associations and statements matter.

    Its my firm belief that it is exactly this kind of reasoning, that we should only focus on the short-term through data collected in the short-term through methods developed over the short-term that is the cause for much of our intellectual and political malaise.

    The fact that Harper made a career of sorts from bemoaning Canada's institutions and political culture to right wing US "think tanks" definitely matters. This is a man that supported the Reform party's policies of deregulating the financial sector lock step with America, who thought Canada should have participated in the Iraq War, and who coddles with extremists such as Charles McVety who protest museum exhibitions on Darwinism!

    So forgive a skeptical Canadian for not only the most recent sound bytes.

  38. Trouble with elections is the Canadians who can't wean themselves off handouts and Iggy and Layton are only too pleased to pretend they are some kind of secular Sanatas trying for all they are worth to buy their seats. The time doesn't bother me, the orgy of spending promises does.

  39. Trouble with elections is the Canadians who can't wean themselves off handouts and Iggy and Layton are only too pleased to pretend they are some kind of secular Sanatas trying for all they are worth to buy their seats. The time doesn't bother me, the orgy of spending promises does.

    • Perhaps you could take a tour of Tony Clement's riding, with a view to visiting the array of installations of questionable need, compliments of your frugal Cons. Or, on the available evidence, it appears that the Cons would have been very happy to spend your precious tax dollars to buy 7 ridings in the vicinity of Quebec City with the construction of an arena, if they thought they could get away with it.

      And, speaking for myself, I don't care to contribute to an "orgy of spending" to built bigger prisons for a correctional policy is that is failing everywhere else it's been tried.

      So, be sure to include Harper in your list of big spenders.

  40. I believe Jean Charest (Liberal premier, former Conservative MP) also denounced the deal. It's a regional issue, not a "separatist" issue. Deal with it.

  41. Perhaps you could take a tour of Tony Clement's riding, with a view to visiting the array of installations of questionable need, compliments of your frugal Cons. Or, on the available evidence, it appears that the Cons would have been very happy to spend your precious tax dollars to buy 7 ridings in the vicinity of Quebec City with the construction of an arena, if they thought they could get away with it.

    And, speaking for myself, I don't care to contribute to an "orgy of spending" to built bigger prisons for a correctional policy is that is failing everywhere else it's been tried.

    So, be sure to include Harper in your list of big spenders.

  42. It's just I would like an election to count for something. Harper gets to claim he isn't really in charge and the opposition gets to claim a "hidden agenda". Let's let the winner rule for 4 years regardless. The opposition can complain but how about a gentleman's pact where the winner gets to run the country as they wish.

  43. It's just I would like an election to count for something. Harper gets to claim he isn't really in charge and the opposition gets to claim a "hidden agenda". Let's let the winner rule for 4 years regardless. The opposition can complain but how about a gentleman's pact where the winner gets to run the country as they wish.

  44. Stephen Harper knows a lot about coalitions.

    Mr. Harper served as President of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2002. National Citizens Coalition is a Canadian conservative lobby group founded in 1967 to oppose the concept of a national health care system.

    National Citizens Coalition supports privatization, tax cuts, government spending cuts and opposes laws that limit spending by non-party organizations during election campaigns. It has been heavily involved in advertising, political campaigns and legal challenges in support of its goals of "more freedom with less government." (ie – fewer regulations, less enforcement).

    During its almost four decades of existence, the National Citizens Coalition has campaigned against the Canada Health Act.

  45. Stephen Harper knows a lot about coalitions.

    Mr. Harper served as President of the National Citizens Coalition from 1998 to 2002. National Citizens Coalition is a Canadian conservative lobby group founded in 1967 to oppose the concept of a national health care system.

    National Citizens Coalition supports privatization, tax cuts, government spending cuts and opposes laws that limit spending by non-party organizations during election campaigns. It has been heavily involved in advertising, political campaigns and legal challenges in support of its goals of "more freedom with less government." (ie – fewer regulations, less enforcement).

    During its almost four decades of existence, the National Citizens Coalition has campaigned against the Canada Health Act.

  46. I wish I could convey the depth of antipathy I feel towards those who put their personal ideologies ahead of what's right and proper for our country. The last two elections have demonstrated that French Canada is NOT voting for a National Government. To this point English Canada still is. It is a virtual certainty that English Canada will give a mandate to the Conservatives. Yet we still face the prospect (if the conservatives only get a minority) of being Governed by two reputiated parties (in English Canada) and those bent on the Countries destruction. (the Bloc) As so many of the pundits say this is NOT typical Parlimentary tradition or akin to what occured in the UK. This would actually be, the reputiated, Governing their repudiaters. Considering an election would have just occured any claim of a mandate by the Liberal/NDP and their anti Canadian cohorts would be a farce. I for one, would rather be Governed by Washington. That is how serious I believe are the implications for our Country. The sense of betrayal in the West if this type of (repudiated) coalition occurs would be profound.

  47. I wish I could convey the depth of antipathy I feel towards those who put their personal ideologies ahead of what's right and proper for our country. The last two elections have demonstrated that French Canada is NOT voting for a National Government. To this point English Canada still is. It is a virtual certainty that English Canada will give a mandate to the Conservatives. Yet we still face the prospect (if the conservatives only get a minority) of being Governed by two reputiated parties (in English Canada) and those bent on the Countries destruction. (the Bloc) As so many of the pundits say this is NOT typical Parlimentary tradition or akin to what occured in the UK. This would actually be, the reputiated, Governing their repudiaters. Considering an election would have just occured any claim of a mandate by the Liberal/NDP and their anti Canadian cohorts would be a farce. I for one, would rather be Governed by Washington. That is how serious I believe are the implications for our Country. The sense of betrayal in the West if this type of (repudiated) coalition occurs would be profound.

  48. http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=ele&…

    200430,007,09422,466,62113,683,57060.9%
    200630,007,09423,054,61514,908,70364.7%
    200831,612,89723,677,63913,929,09358.8%

    2011 should be approx: 54% or less with a solid Conservative base turn out of 30% + having had the benefit of receiving the bulk of the stimulus spending plus a host of other goodies it is 100% certain Steve Harper will have a major majority government.

    As we speak the polls now put Harper at 41% ….. this is not even a race anymore. Sad

    It is all over, even before it started …and the MSM knows it and hence a free ride for Steve

  49. http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=ele&…

    200430,007,09422,466,62113,683,57060.9%
    200630,007,09423,054,61514,908,70364.7%
    200831,612,89723,677,63913,929,09358.8%

    2011 should be approx: 54% or less with a solid Conservative base turn out of 30% + having had the benefit of receiving the bulk of the stimulus spending plus a host of other goodies it is 100% certain Steve Harper will have a major majority government.

    As we speak the polls now put Harper at 41% ….. this is not even a race anymore. Sad

    It is all over, even before it started …and the MSM knows it and hence a free ride for Steve

  50. Dig a hole, fill a hole, and the economy LOSES if all we did was spend our money doing nothing useful.

    So no, that is NOT the argument to use in favour of elections as often as necessary. The argument in favour of having (to pay for) elections as often as necessary is that ALL the other alternatives are abhorrent.

  51. Let us remember that the last 2 elections were called by Mr Harper. He defeated the Martin government in 2005 for non-confidence, thus the election in January 2006. Then Harper broke his own rule of set elections every 4 years by calling another election in October 2008 – the only reason being he wanted a majority! So I don't see how he has the right to complain about too many elections or about this one being unnecessary. Especially when for the first time in history a government has been found in contempt of parliament – seems to me a pretty good reason for an election. But alas, for Harper democracy is such a nuisance.

  52. Let us remember that the last 2 elections were called by Mr Harper. He defeated the Martin government in 2005 for non-confidence, thus the election in January 2006. Then Harper broke his own rule of set elections every 4 years by calling another election in October 2008 – the only reason being he wanted a majority! So I don't see how he has the right to complain about too many elections or about this one being unnecessary. Especially when for the first time in history a government has been found in contempt of parliament – seems to me a pretty good reason for an election. But alas, for Harper democracy is such a nuisance.

  53. De-stabilizing the government, and taking advantage of the Canadian people, is a Conservative art form. The resulting lack of social progress, and co-operation between federal, and provincial governments, is a crime. It results, in a retardation of sustainable development, especially in aboriginal communities. Education is a provincial mandate, but the social infrastructure, necessary to keep a child in school, is federal. Milking, and exploiting isolated communities, is mirrored in most economically challenged, African countries. There is no sharing, or development. I'm not even familiar with the contents of the Kelowna Accord, but it probably didn't feed the bank accounts, of Conservative corporations.

  54. De-stabilizing the government, and taking advantage of the Canadian people, is a Conservative art form. The resulting lack of social progress, and co-operation between federal, and provincial governments, is a crime. It results, in a retardation of sustainable development, especially in aboriginal communities. Education is a provincial mandate, but the social infrastructure, necessary to keep a child in school, is federal. Milking, and exploiting isolated communities, is mirrored in most economically challenged, African countries. There is no sharing, or development. I'm not even familiar with the contents of the Kelowna Accord, but it probably didn't feed the bank accounts, of Conservative corporations.

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