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Let’s be clear: the only reason we’re having this election is first-past-the-post

Who thinks a snap election in the middle of a pandemic is a good idea?

Canadian politicians sure do. 

Today’s announcement of a federal election – a full two years ahead of schedule – is the third snap election since the beginning of the pandemic. 

John Horgan’s BC NDP and Blaine Higgs New Brunswick PC’s also pulled the plug on their minority governments, despite other parties in their legislatures pleading with them to keep working across party lines instead. 

A quick look around the democratic world shows our politicians are the exception, not the norm.

Of the 29 OECD countries with minority or coalition governments, only two called an early election during the pandemic: Canada and Israel.

What’s on fire in Canada’s Parliament that created the urgent need for a “fresh mandate”? 

It’s actually pretty simple. 

While some OECD countries have fixed election laws (which unlike Canada’s, are not a joke) many governments could have gone to the polls anytime.

Except that they were elected by proportional representation.

35% of the vote gets a party 35% of the seats.

When nobody can get a “majority” government with 35% of the vote, why bother? 

If your party is up 4% in the polls today, who cares?

There’s nothing to “win” – except more cooperation with others.

Cooperation and compromise are values our power-hungry politicians in Canada don’t seem to relish much.

Trudeau – testing out his talking points for the snap election – recently lamented that Parliament had become “toxic”. 

Ironically, that same word was uttered by MPs on their way out the door, such as Conservative MP Bruce Stanton and Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould. 

The increase in mindless, destructive hyper-partisanship has been noted by countless MPs in recent years. 

Despite the partisan games, this minority Parliament got things done for Canadians. Real improvements to legislation that touched the lives of millions of Canadians happened because of, not in spite of, the opposition parties. 

We have issues in Canada that one party alone can’t solve. 

The solution to the “toxic” culture in Parliament?

For Trudeau, it’s a snap election. To secure a government where he doesn’t have to compromise with anyone.

There’s no doubt: This election is a first-past-the-post power grab.

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