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.
In Ottawa, PM Justin Trudeau still leads a shaky minority, and still veers between running a pandemic response, and stumbling around from scandal to scandal like he has no idea what he’s doing.
In B.C., Premier John Horgan has a relatively popular government (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).
Trudeau seems to be staying away from an election for the moment. Horgan, however, has decided to strike while the iron is hot and send us to the polls next month.
Can 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.
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. would have gone to the polls next fall. The whole country has a couple more years to run.
We should have at least fought through the pandemic, vaccinated everyone, and then gone and voted with one less thing to worry about.
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