Ballot Casting Time

Bust of Emperor Constantine, on display in the Yorkshire Museum.

Back in Canada I have been feeling a little conflicted as to what should be filling this space. So today a compromise.

There is so much happening in Canada, politically and socially, stuff that has nothing (or at least very little) to do with COVID-19. However, I have the impression that sometimes when I delve into political analysis I’m letting down those who were hoping for a travel post, or at least something less meaty.

So, for the next little when I offer you some observations on contemporary Canada, I will accompany those with some travel pictures. That way everyone wins. In theory anyway.

It is the worst-kept “secret” in the country. The Prime Minister thinks he can ride a vaccination bubble to a majority government in a fall election. Despite the many failings of his government, and his own ethical scandals, he thinks he will do better at the polls than he did in 2019. People will vote Liberal in gratitute for the lifting of pandemic restrictions, forgetting who imposed those restrictions in the first place. From what I can see so far, he is probably right.

Bran Castle, known to tourists as “Dracula’s Castle.”

Minority governments in Canada usually last about 18 months, so you could say this one is on life support. The timing though is crucial.

You are reading it here first: the next Canadian federal exlection will be October 25. Okay, it could also be the preceding couple of days if the PM opts to not go for the traditional Monday date.

How the elction is conducted depends also on if there are pandemic restrictions still in place. Certainly I expect the PM to push for an increase in mail-in balloting, seeing how well it worked for Joe Biden. The theory is his supporters don’t like him enough to go to a polling place.

The one sure thing about the date is that it will be after October 19, because that is the sixth anniversary of Justin Trudeau’s first election win. The Liberals elected 148 new MPs that day, and those still in Parliament become eligible for a pension on October 19 this year. None of them wants to gamble their pension on an early election, which is why there was no vote this Spring, despite media speculation about an impending election.

It is a natural concern for politicians. Careers are short, and returning to the private sector after an election loss isn’t always easy. It is nice to have some sort of fallback.

It isn’t only Liberals who are worried about their futures. Some Conservative MPs expressed the same concerns to me in 2011 when it looked like there would be an early election.

While there are some who are opposed to pensions for politicians, I don’t begrudge those in public service having a cushion when they leave office. That may be because I have seen first-hand how tough the job can be, and how dedicated most MPs are to service.

That the timing of the election will be influenced by the pension eligibility of so many Liberals is not surprising. That is a far bigger concern for those MPs than COVID-19.

Which is quite understandable given human nature. We may wish things were different, but I don’t see that changing soon.

I miss these engines; there was a grace and majesty to them that today’s more efficient machines lack.

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