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EDITORIAL – Why the old system of snap elections was better

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An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ARE YOU GETTING TIRED of the election campaign yet?

I know, the campaign isn’t officially underway yet, and it’s still more than three months until election day. But unofficially, the campaign is in high gear, and has been at least since the beginning of the year.

Which brings up the matter of fixed election dates. I miss the days when the prime minister would call an election at a time convenient to the government or in answer to some political crisis.

Fixed election dates have been with us since 2007, the theory being that they would take some of the politics out of the calling of elections. The idea was to prevent governments from calling elections when they were popular, rather than having to wait until the end of a term when they might happen to be unpopular.

But more flexible election timing had the advantage of compacting the election campaign. A month or so is plenty long enough to spend listening to politicians and their parties tell us how great they are and how bad the other guys are.

Besides, snap elections brought excitement to the political process. They were often called on specific issues or crises, galvanizing the electorate with clearcut choices. The parties and their leaders laid out their proposals in short order and we got the job done.

Instead, even when prime ministers should call early elections they don’t. We go through close to a year of subtle and not-so-subtle campaigning, and a seemingly endless summer of burger-flipping as the politicians stump the country trying to convince us they’re one with the people.

Give me the old-style system where we could expect the unexpected, where there was room for surprises on when we go to the polls.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6874 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Why the old system of snap elections was better

  1. Beverley Campbell // July 9, 2019 at 10:06 AM // Reply

    Have to say, I completely agree.

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