Sunday, 8 January 2017

Holding the election is more important than winning it. Kudos to Stephen Harper for Bill C36 (2007)

A fair open challenge by popular vote at regular intervals is far more important than which party wins.  The body politic is forced to renew itself or displace its rulers bloodlessly.  This is done by institutionalizing the violence that otherwise would develop.    Calls in the U.S. to have a third term for Barack Obama or to overturn the results of the 2016 vote invite the death of democracy.

Has it not always been so?  The latest iteration is Turkey's Erdogan:  "Democracy is like a train. You get off once you have reached your destination".    In Canada, we don't have a president-for-life as Kazakhstan seems to have, but we used to game the system with election dates.  The prime minister could juggle to get a three to five year term, watching the polls and choosing the best moment in two years to strike and recapture the spoils of power.  The party in power always had its thumb on the scale.

Stephen Harper brought in Bill C-36 in 2007.  Wikipedia summarizes:
 "It requires that each general election take place on the third Monday in October in the fourth calendar year after the previous poll, starting with October 19, 2009. During the legislative process, the Liberal-dominated Senate added an amendment listing conditions under which an election date could be modified, in order to avoid clashes with religious holidays, municipal elections, and referenda, but the House of Commons, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives, rejected the amendment and the Senate did not pursue it."
Kudos to Stephen Harper.

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