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Bakker: Now is not the time for a federal election

Is government sending mixed messages, telling Canadians to stay home but going out to vote is OK?

Last week, Canadians were almost sent back to the polls.

The federal Liberals survived a confidence vote and a snap election was avoided.

What I didn’t hear about on the national news, when the threat of an election was hanging over our heads, was the cost of one, and not just the monetary value.

The average federal election now costs around $500 million and it would probably cost more to hold during a global pandemic with all the extra needed health precautions.

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Even if you don’t like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and want him out, is it worth half a billion dollars to try and maybe, possibly, remove him? It’s a huge gamble. It would also mean that all the current government programs put in place to help people through the pandemic would be cancelled. We’d have to start all over again with a new plan, which would also cost taxpayers more money.

I’m not saying the government shouldn’t be held to account. We all want details and answers on the WE Charity scandal. Does it require an election?

I felt this time around, certain leaders were hoping for an election so they could get in, for the good of themselves, not for the good of the country. I’m not naive, I know politicians want power. I know the prime minister wants to cash in on his popularity during this pandemic. I know the newly elected Conservative leader wants to flex his muscles.

But we are currently in a public health crisis. We are also hugely in debt. Sending people to the polls now risks spreading the virus even more. Leaders campaigning across the country can’t be safe either. Certain areas of our country are in bubbles, how would people cross those lines to campaign?

Not only are we in the midst of pandemic, we are also crazy in debt. Canada is $343 billion in the hole. I can’t even fathom that amount of money. An election would add to that debt right now.

I can think of a hundred better ways to spend $500 million than on an election, only a year after having one. The results of an election being called right now would likely result in another minority government and we’d keep going around and around with non-confidence votes. It’s hard to get anything done in a minority government.

Maybe you like Trudeau, maybe you don’t, but is it worth putting the government on a stand still, going further into debt, risk spreading the coronavirus at the polls just to figure out if maybe O’Toole can do a better job? I’m all for democracy, but in Canada, our main parties aren’t worlds apart and the cost of an election to prove one guy is better than the next guy isn’t worth it during a pandemic.

We are in unprecedented times right now. No one truly knows what is going to happen with this pandemic. Most families are in survival mode, some have already lost everything.

Is it too much to ask of our federal politicians to work together and get through this without an election looming over our heads constantly? We have enough to worry about.

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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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