The results are in, and it appears $600 million dollars was spent on an election that gave us the status quo.
The Liberal Party of Canada’s gamble on gaining more power in Ottawa didn’t pay off, with the results of Monday night’s election mirroring that of the 2019 federal election. This has many Canadians wondering whether the money spent on the election could have been devoted elsewhere.
“Obviously, anytime that you’re spending $600 million, it could be spent on a bunch of things. However, $600 million spent on democracy, to ask the public what you think, that’s money that was going to be spent, whether this election took place, now or in a year. It wasn’t like the next one is going to be free,” said Dr. Michael Johns, Barrie 360 Political Correspondent and Visiting Professor in the Department of Politics at York University.
“So, $600 million is a lot of money in terms of the budget of the federal government. In terms of each Canadian, it works out to 20 bucks,” added Johns. “Yeah, we always can spend the money on different things. But one of the most important aspects of living in a democracy is, at times, being asked to vote and to use our democratic rights, and if we have to spend money on that, we spend money on it.”
It has been pointed out that this election was called so that the Liberal Party could seize more power in Ottawa. Dr. Johns says if the roles were reversed, the Conservative Party would have made the same call. “I think anyone would. I think the unfortunate aspect of our electoral system is that very small changes in the amount of support that the two big parties can get, can have enormous impacts on the number of seats that you win. And so it rewards going after a majority government because then you aren’t beholden to other political parties.”
Johns points out Canada had seen considerably more minority governments in the 21st century than we did in the last one hundred years. “That seems to indicate that we are more divided and there isn’t the sways in the electorate that would allow for one party to gain a majority the majority of the time,” he commented.
While the results of Monday’s election seemingly put us back to square one, Dr. Johns says it doesn’t mean there won’t be some change. “They’ve made some new campaign promises, so there will be a throne speech. My guess is there’ll be a cabinet shuffle. And they’re going to have to sit down with, most likely, the NDP to figure out what they want to do with their agenda. What are the things the NDP are willing to go along with and what are the things now the NDP are simply going to say no,” said Johns.
“I think we’ve all learned, as a result of this election, that no, there is no appetite for another election in the next 12 months. So they all are going to have to work together, but they’re all going to be trying to find how to negotiate their way through yet another minority government,” he concluded.