Who really hates an election? They are so entertaining, after all

Who really hates an election? They are so entertaining, after all

Everybody said Canadians did not want the last election to take place, that it was unnecessary.

Stephen Harper said it over and over like a mantra (along with “please give us a majority”).

Michael Ignatieff also said numerous times that Canadians did not want to go to the polls. Both were wrong. Good for Steve, bad for Mike.

The Canadian political landscape changed dramatically as a result of that election.Obviously Canadians wanted a change. Obviously they wanted the election.

Last week at their convention, the NDP discussed removing the term “socialist” from the party definition. It was no accident of timing. Dramatic losses by the Liberal party have left a vacuum in the political centre. Why not take advantage?

What will really hurt – and maybe even kill – the Liberal party is the Harper Conservatives’ plan to end the $2 per-vote federal funding subsidy for political parties. Down-hearted, leaderless and in a state of disarray, the Liberals will struggle raising funds for the next political campaign. If you are a Liberal and love your party, get involved and do something, before it is too late.

Meanwhile, Jack Layton and the New Democratic Party have four years to prove themselves. Can they do it? Can they win the hearts of Canadians and become the new government-in-waiting?

The people of Quebec also wanted change. Premier Jean Charest, who is always under siege it seems, was the big winner there as the federal election was a catalyst for the separatist movement to splinter and implode. For most Quebecers, it seems, it is time to move on.

So we have to say, hurrah for the federal election – it was great!

Elections are fun, and Canadians love them. Change is what makes politics vibrant, current and interesting, and revitalizes our governments.

Nobody makes a shift like Alberta when the ruling party falls out of favour and the urge strikes. It will likely be late 2012 before there is a general election in Alberta, but the winds of change have been blowing strong there for a while.

This current Alberta legislature passed a series of unpopular and controversial pieces of legislation that led to a decline in the polls for the governing Conservatives. The popularity of Premier Ed Stelmach dwindled to the point where he resigned. They are in the process of picking a new leader. That choice will be critical to their future survival. Meanwhile, the new Wildrose Alliance party has been the beneficiary of voter migration (in opinion polls). Since the Wildrose Alliance is seen to be to the right of the Conservatives, could their election open a crack for a center or left party to slide in, changing Alberta to a multi-party system?

This October the NWT will have its general election. In the NWT, only one person, the Member of Parliament, is voted on and chosen by all residents.

Since there are no political parties, and no platforms for voters to chose from in a territorial election, the next government will be all about the personality of individuals running in each riding.

In fact the great weakness of the NWT style of consensus government is that during the election process, no vision of the future government is ever presented. No plans, objectives or philosophic ideals and no looking to the horizon to capture voter imagination. The system, by definition, eliminates all that – a great detriment to the next government’s ability to find its way, not to mention the people’s right to chose.

Current Premier Floyd Roland has indicated he will not run again. That means the position of premier will be up for grabs.

The premier is chosen by all members of the assembly. Currently the front runner is Michael Miltenberger, the MLA for Thebacha. In fact Miltenberger, as the current minister of three major cabinet posts, is already carrying a considerable load.

Those include Finance, perhaps the most important and difficult of all departments, and Environment, which, since it deals with both caribou and water, has been the focus of attention and some controversy in the last several years. Add Health and Social Services, the department with the largest of all budgets, which he inherited during the federal election. All that, along with being deputy premier, is a lot of work and responsibility to juggle, yet Miltenberger seems to be handling it well. He will be the obvious best choice for premier.

Thus it seems quite likely, and a little odd somehow, that citizens in Thebacha constituency will have the honour of choosing the next NWT premier.

The Slave River Journal will focus on issues facing Fort Smith and what its MLA should be doing, as well as the future vision of the NWT, and how it should unfold, in the next three months. We would appreciate any ideas you may have on those or other election topics.

Northern Journal

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