Editorial—Why an Election?

I’ve started to see a number of folks online asking why hold an election now, as yet another wave of COVID-19 seems to start gripping our nation.  I think there are a lot of answers to this question.

The first answer, of course, is because the governing political party saw the polls, has been looking ahead, and has determined that right now would be the most advantageous for them.  Whether this works out to be true or not remains to be seen, but that’s a reason we can’t get away from.

Some would consider this as a fault in the party calling the election. How dare they put their own desires for continued and easier employment ahead of slightly inconveniencing millions of people they don’t know and will never meet?  Except, when you put it like that, it kind of answers itself.  It’s simply a rational reaction to the system we’ve set up, and anybody suggesting that their party of choice would not do the same thing is in essence suggesting that their party of choice would not act in a rational fashion.

Does the pandemic make it different, somehow? Not in the least.  You’ll have less contact at the voting booth than you will with your supermarket cashier, and they in turn with all the other people in your voting district, which is probably a smaller area than is served by your favorite supermarket.  And if that still isn’t enough, there are mail in ballots and advance polling that can be taken advantage of.  While I do wish that Elections Canada reconsider their decision to not require vaccination of all their employees, simply for an added level of safety, in truth, it’s probably not needed.

But is there a reason for an election beyond the real politik?  I think so.  This will be our first election since the start of the pandemic and we’re entering a new stage of it, where the concepts of mandatory vaccinations, vaccination passports, and, of course, the continued use of government support through various levels of isolation and quarantine that may come about are all issues that Canadians deserve a say in.  None of this was anything that any of the parties campaigned on.  I think it’s about time, now that many of us are getting a handle on how this is working, to start evaluating some choices about how we move forward.

To me, this election is the current governing party pushing all those issues directly back to us.  Which is mostly fair, these issues are highly charged and often subjective.  We are talking about competing harms, where the cost-benefit ratio of any course is debatable.  It makes sense to toss it all back to the hands of Canadians to see which group we think will be able to best walk whatever paths are to come.

Just remember that elections are about more than the pandemic, and I’m hoping we’ll be getting some reporting very soon on the post-secondary positions of the various parties.  Enjoy the read!

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