No surprise, it was Brian Jean in a walk.
The well-heeled local lad, former Conservative Member of Parliament and former leader of the Wildrose Party of Alberta didn’t even have to break into a sweat to capture an overwhelming majority of the votes for the United Conservative Party in yesterday’s Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election.
At 24 per cent, though, the turnout for the by-election was disgracefully low: 5,837 votes out of 24,058 eligible electors.
Still, Fort McMurray’s pretty much a Conservative town – it elected Mr. Jean for the Wildrose Party amidst the NDP sweep of 2015. But winning 64 per cent of the votes in an election with eight candidates in the race is a pretty convincing win no matter how you look at it.
Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when he sashays into his first UCP Caucus meeting as the MLA for Fort Mac?
Will Alberta Premier Jason Kenney – whom Mr. Jean has vowed to overthrow and replace – be on hand to pose for smiling photos with the victorious candidate from northern Alberta?
Will Mr. Jean – who played the spoiler in 2014 and ruined Danielle Smith’s plan to lead the Wildrose Party into Jim Prentice’s Progressive Conservatives – somehow be able to upset Mr. Kenney’s applecart as well, now that the victor of their 2017 fight to lead the UCP faces an unhappy party and a leadership review in Red Deer next month?
To Albertan ears there’s something dire about the phrase “a leadership review in Red Deer” – the central Alberta city conveniently halfway between Calgary and Edmonton where conservative political careers have been known to go to die.
There’s lots of speculation about how this will all play out, most of it probably pretty idle.
Mr. Kenney appears to be in deep political trouble – unpopular among Albertans according to several recent polls, and in hot water with significant portions of his own party’s base.
But he’s also the party leader, with a bag of tricks that goes with that position and a proven willingness to reach deep into it. Alert readers will recall the things he got up to the last time he wanted to defeat Mr. Jean, Kamikaze candidates, and all that.
And it’s not as if Mr. Kenney and Mr. Jean will be officially squaring off in Red Deer. Mr. Kenney will be fighting for party approval. Mr. Jean will be hanging around the fringes saying he could do better in Mr. Kenney’s office.
A leadership fight would only come later, in the event Mr. Kenney lost the leadership review, or the general election expected in 2023. In such circumstances, Mr. Kenney might fight to hang onto his leadership, or he might not. There are plenty of rumours he might call an early election to avoid a leadership fight he couldn’t win.
Whatever you may think of Mr. Kenney and his policies, don’t count him out in a scrap.
If Mr. Kenney thwarts Mr. Jean’s hopes of supplanting him as premier and then defeating the NDP, will Mr. Jean even stick around to see what happens next? He quit his job as MP for Fort McMurray-Athabasca in 2014 after an unproductive decade in Ottawa; he resigned as MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin in 2018 after losing the UCP leadership to Mr. Kenney. So he’s got a history.
You have to ask if he’s got it in him to hang around in 2023 if he doesn’t manage to replace Mr. Kenney.
And what will the premier do with his rival, so inconveniently returned from the political crypt?
Unsubstantiated rumours yesterday, given a little boost by a well-known political columnist, suggested Mr. Kenney will never even let Mr. Jean join the UCP caucus.
Well, Mr. Jean can’t be sworn in before April 5, and chances are he won’t be sworn in until after Mr. Kenney’s leadership review on April 9.
If Mr. Kenney manages to hang onto his job, it might be fun for him to keep Mr. Jean around. He could let his rival languish on the backbenches, or surprise everyone and put him in cabinet in a ministry that’s sure to keep him too busy to cause mischief.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Ariana Mancini, the NDP candidate, won 18.4 per cent of the vote with all 61 polls reporting last night. Paul Hinman of the Wildrose Independence Party scraped into two-figure territory with 10.8 per cent.
The rest were all deep in the single digits.
Those results are unofficial.
It’s very likely that Kenney will not permit Jean to enter the UCP caucus. It’s not going to happen. Nada. Never.
I suspect that even Kenney knows that his leadership review is going to be a real battle royale. Regardless of all the rigging and shenanigans Kenney and his allies have pulled, it must be apparent by now that even if Kenney eeks out a small win, by the narrowest of margins, there is no way he can hope to keep the wolves from his Sky-Palace door.
And what of Brian Jean? He expects to be sworn in and take his seat promptly. No doubt the longer Kenney keeps Jean on hold, the angrier the rebel mob will get. The days leading up to the leadership review will be tense.
At some point, I fully expect Kenney, like Putin, will go for the nuclear option: a snap election.
Of course, Kenney will call the election because his government needs a new mandate…for some reason. What better way to keep Jean from taking his seat than to call an election and make him fight for it all over again? And judging by some of the contentious nomination contests that seem to be popping up, an election would be a great way to force the loyalists and the rebels to put all their chips on the table in full public view.
Why hasn’t Jason Kenney protected himself from attackers within the UCP caucus? Todd Loewen, as quoted by Don Braid, explains:
The Twitter version is, one more PO’d ex-UCP MLA would be enough to start the official “Dump Kenney Now” party. TWO more, total four ex-UCP MLAs, can create a formal opposition party sitting in the Legislature. Kenney has to tolerate the “Quit now, dammit!” crowd because they’re less dangerous to him as UCP MLAs.
Will Kenney “exclude” Jean from the UCP caucus? Does Kenney, as UCP leader, have that authority? Does Kenney have the clout to force a caucus vote approving Jean’s exclusion? Does Kenney dare try? Excluding Jean from the UCP caucus would be the first shot in a “nuclear exchange” that would likely rip the so-United Conservatives apart. (Oh, how I wish….)
Snap election? Maybe. Kenney might tell himself, “I’m gonna show them all!” and go all-in. I think it’s more likely he’ll just hunker down and sulk in place. Kenney’s single-minded stubbornness, as shown by his War on Doctors during the pandemic, precludes him stepping down before he’s kicked out. He simply won’t admit he’s wrong. Kenney is the wrong guy, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
I fully expect Kenney to roll out his Horn O’ Plenty and dole out substantial increases and patronage to his loyalists. How much larger can the Cabinet get? Just watch. Brian Mulroney, to reward his ever hungry clique of loyalists, used the Ministers Without Portfolio position to keep the hounds at bay. Imagine eight or more ministers doing absolutely nothing? They have staff, offices, filled with a lot of nothing going on. Come to Alberta…soon.
And there are the appointments that are out of the cabinet, like committee positions, etc. All carry nice pay packets and allowances. Rod Orr got a before unimaginable cabinet position just by tweeting something about Kenney…something…the chosen one…something… Jesus… Thy Will Be Done. It’s easy to get a promotion and a raise with this bunch.
Better spend that oil boom fast before it all goes away … next week.
Yeah, Mr. Jean seems quite popular, in his hometown of Fort Mac, at least. He had the advantage of his past incumbency and a high profile, but without the UCP baggage of the last few years. Also, if Jean does succeed in ousting Kenney and taking over it will probably be beneficial for his hometown to have the first Premier ever from Fort Mac.
Of course, that is getting ahead of things. There is a leadership review first before any leadership race can happen and I suspect Kenney is much more focused on that than any by election in northern Alberta. That is the real hill for Kenney to live or die on. Still, the resounding result for Jean is not a good sign for Kenney of where UCP voters may be at now.
Yes, I also doubt Kenney will get around to swearing in Jean before that review. They say to keep you enemies close, but Kenney is not that magnanimous or wise. I suspect he will say as little about the by election as possible. The best Jean can hope for is a brief perfunctory congratulations, which may just refer to the successful UCP candidate without even using his name. Hey, that’s a bit petty, but I would not be surprised.
Well things seem to be going good for Jean and not so good for Kenney so far. However, I have a feeling there could still be a Lucy with the football moment happening yet, with Kenney holding the ball and Jean Charlie Browning it out.
How unfortunate that the few individuals who bothered to show up couldn’t also be bothered to determine where their best interests lie. The same story applies across rural Alberta.
If and when sense returns to Alberta, I expect Fort Mac to be the last place it visits, not the first. JMO
And so it goes for Fort McMurray. Alberta has had the lowest percentage of voter turnout in Canada for a long time. The residents in Fort McMurray elected another pretend conservative, and Reformer, who flip flops on issues, and lacks the ability to deal with the truth. We will see what plays out after the leadership review for the head honcho of the UCP come April 9. If more people even bothered to come out and vote, perhaps Brian Jean would have been defeated. Regardless, Brian Jean is now another thorn in the side of the head honcho of the UCP. The head honcho of the UCP won’t like that. Furthermore, oil prices are heading in a downwards trajectory. The head honcho of the UCP is going to run out of money to waste.
The leadership fight starts today. There is no way Jean squanders the momentum he has built getting to this win. I fully expect him to be out making the rounds as the presumptive successor, and treating April 9 as a necessary evil to get through on the road to the premiership. The UCP needs to know it is in safe hands, and BJ will give them comfort. First move is money – expect Jean to be glad handing all the big $ supporters that make the political machine run – and by extension starve the current beast. Jean has learned his lesson from Kenney’s dirty deeds, and it will be nothing but scorched earth from now until his coronation.
!? So where were you when Brian Jean was head of the Wildrose Party and Albertans considered him to be the worse liar we have ever seen. If fact he was so bad Albertans decided to take a chance on Jason Kenney as the leader of the UCP and we now know that is as big a liar as Brian Jean. We don’t need two of them treating us like morons.
24.3% voter turnout. So, basically, only one in four eligible voters gave enough of a damn about this byelection to drag their rear ends to a polling station and cast a ballot.
Here’s a thought: how about we change our election legislation in this country, such that in any constituency with less than 50% voter turnout, the election in that seat is invalidated, and the election has to be rerun… and none of the candidates in the previous invalidated election would be allowed to run again. I wonder how our elections would turn out under such a system. How many constituencies would go unrepresented for months, even years, because nobody could be bothered to vote?
JERRYMACGP: In Australia, it’s been mandatory to vote, since the 1920s. What would election outcomes be like if we had that here? I recall one election in this particular riding of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, where a candidate got in with something like around 15 percent voter turnout. It’s a sad state of affairs when people take their right to vote for granted. Alberta has had the lowest percentage of voter turnout in Canada for quite some time. It’s not good.
So far, Canadians have taken, to my eye, a masturbatory delight in proclaiming that “people who don’t vote don’t have a right to complain.” At some point, maybe we should be asking, “why are so many otherwise reasonable and responsible adults choosing not to vote, and what will be the consequences for our society if this trend continues?” Bringing in new voters will require persuading reasonable adults that change is possible. Under FPTP, that is a really tough sell.
A point that doesn’t get made very often is that since a by-election outcome does not typically affect the standing of the government, voters can vote a bit more ‘creatively’, secure in the knowledge that their vote will not result in a government they don’t really want. In other words, they can use their vote to send the government a message. I really believe that was a factor in Paul Hinman’s by-election win in Calgary Glenmore that David mentioned yesterday. I don’t think Mr. Hinman will see the same kind of support in the 2023 election that he got yesterday. (This assumes, of course, that Jason Kenney does not call a snap election in the next few weeks.)
Prior to the by-election a lot of pundits pointed out that every candidate in the election was opposed to Jason Kenney. It was only this morning that it popped into my head that a consequence of this odd situation is that there was no candidate a Kenney supporter could vote for to show their support. This made at least a contribution to the low turnout; in Jason Kenney’s world it would appear that a 24% turnout indicates that he has the support of the 76% that didn’t come out to vote.
Finally, I don’t think it is fair to hold up Brian Jean’s MP resignation in 2014 as evidence of him being a quitter. Jean was wooed to return to Alberta to try and rebuild the Wildrose Party after Danielle Smith gutted the party by leading a significant chunk of its elected members over to the PCs.
Sad day for democracy in Alberta with the abysmally low voter turn out. Especially given what’s at stake for the Province. Fort Mac now has an MLA with a proven history of no real political convictions but a certain drive to be in politics. However, one gets what one pays for I guess. In Fort McMurray that’s not much.
It’s a match made in heaven – the MLA is just as committed to the community as 90% of its population is!
…Get it? It’s funny, cause when the oil is gone and there’s just tailings ponds left, 90% of the people living in Fort Mac will have gone home, and won’t lose any sleep over the smoldering hellscape Alberta’s grandchildren will inherit.
Totally predictable outcome.
Here’s another totally predictable outcome: Kenney will cheat at his leadership review in April and he will win – oh, hum.
That will give him another year to empty out the cupboard, so that no money is left to rebuild Alberta. Then, when the NDP win the election, the UCP, and the mainstream media will scream about how the NDP is bankrupting the province.
Soon after the next provincial election Kenney will head home to Ontario and get busy rebuilding his reputation and re-write history, with the help of the main stream media of course, so that he can make a run toward his lifelong dream of becoming prime minister, which will never happen.
It should be fun to watch Kenney stab “Skippy” ( Pierre Poillievre) in the back on his march toward trying to steal the leadership of the conservative party, after Skippy is crowned the new leader of the Canadian MAGA party.
It’s all so predictable.
“But he’s also the party leader, with a bag of tricks that goes with that position and a proven willingness to reach deep into it.”
The ‘trick’ most speculated on, of course, is calling an early election. This creates all sorts of interesting questions. First, should Jason Kenney call the election before April 9, so he doesn’t have the baggage of losing the review vote, or wait until after the vote just in case he wins it?
Second, how would the UCP campaign in an election with a leader nobody wants, especially the candidates? I am imagining a lot of candidates using the pitch ‘don’t worry, we will replace Jason Kenney as soon as possible after the election’, which I am sure they would. That would bring out some of the anti NDP vote, I guess, but it would sure be nice to know what premier you are voting for when casting your ballot. Given conservative parties’ penchant to support ‘real’ conservatives, I can see how a lot of the moderates that voted UCP in 2019 wouldn’t do so again.
Remind that it’s the Lieutenant Governor who calls elections, not any parliamentarian. Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani would want to know by what reason legislative and governing continuity should be interrupted by an early election call.
Since her job requires complete impartiality with not a hint of partisanship (and, when a sitting government exists, neither a hint of political interference), she would be sensitive—or should be—to the facts that Jason Kenney appointed her to be our Queen’s representative in the sovereign province of Alberta and that any attempt by Kenney to get an early election granted that would be partial to him in his painfully overt partisan and political straits would offend the tradition and purpose of her office in a most obvious way. Not that K-Boy hasn’t been involved in such an affront before…
Recall Kenney was a federal cabinet minister when CPC PM Stephen Harper had the temerity to bully Her Majesty’s Governor General of Canada into granting an parliamentary prorogation—an ‘early’ one because a CPC bill had already been tabled for a vote in the Commons, and a suspect one because prorogation precluded a confidence vote on the bill which the CPC minority would have lost—doubly suspect because an alternative group of MPs had communicated to Her Excellency that they were committed to voting en bloc to pass bills into law if the CPC proved it could not.
It was an hypocrisy. The Canadian partisan right—of which Kenney has been a notable member— went wild with feigned indignation when PM Jean Chrétien was granted an early election whilst the Reform-a-CRAP-a-Con Alliance, Official Opposition, was in complete disarray under its hapless leader Stockwell Day, howling outrage that Chrétien was “playing politics” in the place we pay politicians to do just that. Subsequently, right-wing governments across the nation imposed fixed-election dates to prevent such embarrassment from happening to them ever again. The question is whether the Governor improperly granted Chrétien a favour by way of a snap election at a time most propitious for re-electing his Liberals: that, naturally, would dishonour Her Excellency’s office. But a real reason (or “excuse,” as Conservatives grumbled) was that the Day’s Loyal Opposition was plainly not prepared to assume government at a moment’s notice, as it is designed to be (this is the ostensible purpose of shadow cabinets: to keep Opposition MPs sharp and in the loop for such an unlikely event).
There is no equivalent to that situation in Alberta today: polls indicate that citizens themselves reckon the NDP is prepared to assume government at a moment’s notice in the event of some calamity—goodness forbid—and will probably give ballot-notice that it is amply prepared to assume government as well at the next electoral opportunity. Certainly, compared to the disunited UCP, the NDP looks rock-solid ready to do a better job of governing the great province of Alberta whenever the writ is dropped.
That said, Her Honour would feel somewhat more beyond reproach in granting Kenney an early election AFTER his April 9 party-leadership review, but in order to appear impartial towards a partisan leader for his political benefit, some other reason would be needed. Unfortunately for Kenney, he can hardly convince Her Honour that the province needs a new mandate because of a new crisis—like BC Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did by citing then-burgeoning Covid in order to be granted early elections in 2020 and 2021, respectively—nor can Kenney convince the LG of an economic crisis requiring a new mandate, not while he’s suspended already-anemic protocols and now boasts of great opportunities for a moribund bitumen industry in light of rising oil prices.
What would it be, then? A new mandate needed to prepare for retaliatory war against Russia for invading the homeland of ethnic Ukrainian Albertans? That would betray independence envy.
To avoid the risk of riling Her Honour with gas-lighted baiting and switching, maybe the only convincing rationale is that K-Boys own party is too riven to govern. The proper response would be to prove it in the Assembly by tabling a money bill which fails to win parliamentary confidence: in light of the fact that no other group of MLAs would commit to cooperatively vote together to pass bills, an early election would almost instantly be granted.
I’m not saying it’s impossible or unlikely that the LG would grant Kenney an early election for some reason not involving blatant favouritism (or, fo that matter, pity): as Harper showed, it can happen, as long as the perpetrators can stand the stench (remember, Canadians weren’t so offended by his improper prorogation that they didn’t re-elect the CPC), but insofar as the Governor should appear unbiased in her decision, she probably wouldn’t grant it before K-Boy’s April 9 review. But I wouldn’t put it past Kenney for asking, anyway.
I’m not sure if the LG would have to divulge such a request—unless on paper, of course.
It seems people forget two very important things: First, the bulk of the opposition to Kenney is because Albertans feel he isn’t right-wing enough. Second, they feel Kenney shouldn’t have done anything at all to fight COVID, their anger is not because he did too little. That is, if they even believe COVID is real. Brian Jean’s predictable landslide victory is only the first occurrence in a chain of events that I foresee over the next few years in Alberta politics. Still to come:
1. Kenney gets the boot on April 9th in Red Deer.
2. Jean becomes the new UCP leader, and makes Kenney the scapegoat for the catastrophe that has befallen Alberta since April 2019.
3. The next provincial election is called.
4. Albertans fall in line with Jean’s spiel and anti-NDP fearmongering, and the UCP cruise to re-election as a majority government with Jean as their new leader, with record high turnout.
5. The total destruction of the public sector is completed, full privatization of everything, including education and healthcare, finishing what Ralph Klein started.
6. Possible separation from Canada, either as an independent country or by US statehood, if things don’t go their way vis-à-vis Ottawa?
The UCP aren’t incompetent, they know exactly what they’re doing: remaking Alberta in their neoliberal image at any cost is the goal . So far, that goal is being easily achieved because they have a majority government, with no need to listen to any opposition whatsoever because nearly anything they do is perfectly legal. And if it’s not? Well, they can easily change the law to make it so. I would love to have this timeline be wrong. With nearly a century of continuous right-wing governance except for a small blip between 2015-19 (and even that’s debatable, because I personally don’t consider the Alberta NDP objectively left-wing at all), the pattern is pretty much cemented for good. I am not holding my breath for any sort of necessary change to drag Alberta kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Sad.
Fun exercise – look back at the past, say, five federal elections. Remove the votes of Albertans. What does the country look like? Does it look like it would elect people willing to use extralegal RCMP violence to force Alberta’s pipeline du jour upon whatever unwilling populace happens to be today’s victims? Do you think that the “adults” who have run around stoking seperatism with bad-faith absurdities over the past decade in Alberta ever bothered to stop and think about this?
Definitely agree with you that the Alberta NDP is not left wing. “Slightly right-of-centre” is where I would put them. JMO
Well, I called it right. Jean won. The margin surprised me, but I suppose it could be thought of as a very direct anti-Kenney vote. As to turn out being low – there are any number of usual explanations eg. it’s typical of Alberta. People who normally vote Conservative stayed home in disgust. It’s a by election making no great change. Although I do admit I had to look twice at the turnout figures last night.
My advice for Premier Bumbles, admit Jean to Caucus, and then appoint him to as many minor busy work committees as possible and tie him up in non public commitments. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. It’s called hobble him.
We have seen this before Stephen Mandel won a by-election in Edmonton with a small percentage of voters, became Jim Prentice’s health minister and was defeated in the next election. I’m guessing that will happen again.
Of course ignorant Albertans are once again singing Jeans praises ignoring the fact that he was such a great liar as leader of the Wildrose and Albertans decided they would take a chance on Jason Kenney as leader of the UCP instead of him .
I wonder which one will win the title of being the worse liar and be crowned Village Idiot that seems to be what they are headed for. They continue to treat our doctors, nurses, teachers and students like third rate citizens while they try to force us into a privatized health care and education system.
You can bet Jean has no intention of stopping that, it’s the mandate of all reformers. Destroy what the conservatives gave us, continue to help the rich steal the peoples oil and tax wealth and force them into a lot more privatization. It’s all they know. End of story.
ALAN K SPILLER: Brian Jean contradicts himself, and so often. He said that there would be no merger between the Wildrose and the Alberta PCs, and he would stop crossing the floor from happening, after the mass exodus of Danielle Smith and other Wildrose MLAs to Jim Prentice’s Alberta PC party happened. Yet, here he is, in the UCP. The former UCP MLA, Laila Goodridge is only there for the political perks and pay. She knows the UCP are in trouble, so she went into federal politics. It is baffling how Albertans are constantly fooled by these pretend conservatives and Reformers.
An election would not surprise me in the least.
What would be Kenney’s best course of action if his minions tell him that he does not have enough support on April 9 to get past the 50 percent mark? The no downside path might be to call a snap election.
What would be Kenney’s best course of action if he just scrapes by on April 9. With perhaps under 60 percent of the vote. Should he resign? Or, should he call a snap election so that the ‘people of Alberta’ can decide.
Whatever Kenney does, it will always be about me me me. Never the best interests of Albertans or indeed the UCP. It has been that way since he was elected.
The only thing about being a fly on the wall in the UCP’s next caucus meeting is that it’d be a might crowded. It would indeed interest many to see what kind of welcome the shiny new MLA from Fort Mac gets: enthusiastic hand-clapping or polite palm-tapping. In the circumstance, it seems likely buttocks will be clenched tight enough to achieve small nuclear reactor criticality of Con fusion—and nary a peep from the rural, Flatus Earth faction, either, I’d wager.
I can’t recall a circumstance when a premier in short pants has to welcome a victorious by-election party member who’s slagged him in such long strides hitherto, bringing fourth-weekend party and weakened leader together to concentrate, there, disunity. Betcha there’ll be at least one ‘hear-a-pin-drop’ moment in a room so frigid, buzzing flies amassed like a third-world tropical meat market fall silent while vultures and buzzards perched, spruce and pine just outside, preen and flap. The K-Boy has been around, too—long enough to know the hawk in his throat must be cleared before he rises to speak else he issue a pained squeak like the castrato caucus anticipates —at least half, anyway.
Kudos to candidate Ariana Mancini who bravely carried the torch for the NDP— but not for the win in a town so far right three out of four voters appeared so confident Brian Jean would win they didn’t turn out. Nonetheless, it was Mancini’s task to top the farthest-right candidate —which she ably did to secure second place and remind voters and pundits alike that the next contest pits cherry pie against four&twenty squawking magpies which fly off in every direction of right as soon’s theirs pops out of the oven. Whether Ms Mancini runs again, whenever the next general election happens (sometime in the next year—probably), MLA Brian genes dictate passionate crusade to “save Alberta from the NDP”, hardly divulging more—except, perhaps, in short flashes—until he and we find out the next big thing: will the party reveal the split it’s been reeking of ever since K-Boy had to pull out of his premature rejection of Covid protocols, or merely a gash that can be powdered over with a bit of market-foundation and wild rouge. For a party not yet five years old and only three years in power, it appears to bear the scars of generations.
That old Johnny Cash tune comes to mind, if we can imagine minutes equating with days: “25 minutes to go” —which will be like a heavily rotated ear worm for me until the big one, April 9, 2022.
This is history and we have front row seats right here.
Very surprised at the 24% voter turnout. Would have thought that all the people who claim to dislike Kenney would have been very strongly incentivezed to show up.
A friend of mine has been advocating for mandatory voting for about 10 years. He proposes a $20 fine for not voting. Thinks within two election cycles we would have 2 to 5 new political parties. Believes that people vote not just as a sign of personal virtue and responsibility, but also out of a belief that their vote matters and their ideology can be represented in society. We recognize that many people who would prefer to vote X don’t vote at all if they dislike their candidate enough instead of voting for someone else. It stands to reason that some people who might prefer to vote for deep changes to the status quo aren’t going to hold their nose and vote liberal because that is a vote for the status quo that they detest. If every disaffected vote came out and voted, we could expect fringe parties to see enormous growth, and the mainstream parties would have to react to that. After the dust settled, the political landscape would be very different. After more than a hundred years of this electoral system, the only people who can be relied on to vote are the people who most directly benefit from the status quo. As fewer and fewer puerile benefit from the status quo, we can expect vote turnout to drop. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Our democracy was created and designed to extrademocratically (is that a word? ) benefit some and oppress others. It’s still doing what it was designed to do.
NEIL LORE: Australia has had mandatory voting, since the 1920s. We need that here. A $20 fine isn’t enough of a deterrent for not voting. It should be $500, or perhaps $1000. It’s really sickening how so many people take democracy for granted in Alberta. Alberta has had the lowest percentage of voter turnout in Canada for many years.
In a democracy we are all obligated to research the candidates running, and go out and vote for the one we feel would be the best one.
I have never been a fan of mandatory voting, because it only requires the voting aspect, not the research one. Personally I feel it is acting responsibly to refrain from voting if a person has not done the research, and let others who have done the research have their say. That is why I often leave the school board ballot blank when I vote municipally.
If someone is only voting because the law requires them to, what criteria are they using when making their choice? Faith Goldy was such a blatant racist she couldn’t even keep her job with Rebel Media, but she is also a very attractive woman. I hate to think of how many votes she would accumulate for her looks from people who were unaware of her beliefs.
I believe Canada has unequal access to democracy – background education, cognitive abilities, the leisure time required to invest heavily in being politically informed, the virtue required to be willing to use that time selflessly, and faith that the system even attempts to create good outcomes are very unequally and unfairly distributed.
I’d keep the fine low because there are some minority groups who have, in my opinion, valid reasons for abstaining from Canadian democracy. For instance, if an Indigenous person were to take the position that they aren’t Canadian, I’d understand where they were coming from.
At the end of the day, a low fine makes not voting into a fashion statement with a cost that most will easily be able to afford. I’d like to incentivize people more strongly but don’t know how to craft policy to make it happen.
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