March 29, 2011

Can Fixed Election Dates and a Parliamentary System Co-exist?

(title acts as a link to the Globe & Mail website article "We don't have fixed election dates, and can't")


Right above this text is an image of a flag.
Certainly not the Canadian flag.
Absolutely the American flag.

There is one thing that a lot of Canadians desire: fixed election dates. They have the potential to give Canadian politics a measure of predictability; certainly something that we do not have now.

Well that's all warm and fuzzy, but the question is what would we have to sacrifice in order to get this long sought after stability?

The answer: everything.

The way the Canadian Parliamentary system functions is such that our legislative and executive branches of government are meshed together. Our Prime Minister (whoever it may be) is only our Prime Minister because he is elected within his political party to lead it. If that political party gains the largest number of seats in the House of Commons after any election, it makes the leader of the party the leader of Canada.

That is simply not how it works in the United States, a nation that DOES indeed have fixed election dates. There, the political system is much more compartmentalized, meaning that elections for different aspects of government come at different times and are, in some cases, executed differently.

What I'm trying to get at is that for those Canadians who do understand and embrace our Parliamentary system of governance, fixed elections dates aren't even on their radar. Part of the excitement of Canadian politics is that when we're in a minority situation, everything can change in a matter of days.

This coming election is expected to cost $300 million taxpayers dollars, and while that may sting in the minds of many Canadians, seeing as how its the fourth election in seven years, it is the price we must pay for who we are: a modern, Constitutional monarchy with a Parliamentary system.

Our checks and balances are better then those of the United States, and despite the very recent fall of the Conservative minority government, our system offers a piece of mind for the future that is unrivalled in the world.

Except maybe by the United Kingdom.

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