Elections are great.
Going to polls is how Canadians keep their politicians honest – by threatening them with unemployment if they screw up too often or too egregiously. Without regular elections, we’d have to march and protest and sign petitions even more than we do now to create change.
However, there are good times for elections, and bad times for elections.
Right now there are rumblings. In B.C., Premier John Horgan is asking his cabinet ministers who’s likely to stay and go if there’s another election. In Ottawa, PM Justin Trudeau still leads a shaky minority, and still veers between running a pretty good pandemic response, and stumbling around from scandal to scandal like he has no idea what he’s doing. Bit of a mixed bag, there.
So in B.C., we have a relatively popular goverment (as popular as any government can be in B.C., given our tendency to remove them from office with extreme prejudice about once a generation) and in Ottawa, we have a shaky regime and a bunch of pundits begging for something to happen.
Could we run a safe election, during the middle of a pandemic?
Probably. For all Canada’s failings as a country, elections are actually one of the things we do best. Simple paper ballots, non-partisan election management, and a system that encourages participation.
And I’m sure we could do it with masks and face shields and physically distanced lines.
That doesn’t mean it’s the ideal time for an election, though.
Making Elections Canada or Elections B.C. go through their always-stressful business with a pandemic underway is not a great idea. As scheduled, B.C. goes to the polls next fall. The whole country has a couple more years to run. Let’s at least get through the pandemic, vaccinate everyone, and then go and vote, one less thing to worry about.