A sign for the B.C. provincial election is seen in Surrey. The election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Editorial: Please, Prime Minister Trudeau, don’t call a spring election

Vancouver Island voters need a time out from all the election overkill

On Jan. 20, 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as the President and Vice President of the United States.

Their inauguration marks the end of the Donald Trump presidency, and the end of an absurdly long election campaign.

Biden first announced his candidacy on April 25, 2019, which means it took a full 636 days for Biden to become president. In contrast, the longest election in Canadian history — which was held in 2015 — was only 78 days.

Elections in Canada are significantly shorter than in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that Canadians are spared from relentless election cycles.

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In the last four years, voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith area have participated in the 2017 provincial election, the 2018 municipal election, the 2019 federal by-election, the 2019 federal election, and the 2020 provincial election.

Word on The Hill is that there may be a federal election called in spring 2021.

Canada’s federal parties are rushing to get a fresh slate of candidates nominated and approved so they won’t get caught off guard in the event of a snap election. Despite how folks may feel about holding yet another election in a pandemic, is a spring election the right call?

For the voters of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, it is the wrong call. If a spring election was held, Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters would head to the federal polls for the third time in two years.

Current MP Paul Manly was the victor in both contests, reaffirming his seat with an even higher margin of victory the second time around. A third referendum on who should be the MP will result in only one outcome for sure: reduced voter turnout, and increased voter burnout.

However, a spring election could be the right call for the Liberal party.

Incumbent premiers in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick managed to pick up seats in their pandemic elections. The Liberals could be looking to take advantage of a financially strapped NDP, and reduce the amount of time that newly minted leaders Erin O’Toole of the Conservatives and Annamie Paul of the Green Party have to pitch their platforms to new voters.

Of course, the Liberals would love to regain their majority in the House.

The trick for the Liberals will be finding a good reason to hold an election in a pandemic that has killed over 18,000 Canadians without losing political capital. Regardless of the pandemic, a spring election would certainly make the voters of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, indeed across Vancouver Island sick — to their stomachs that is.

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