Week of June 19 – June 23, 2021
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform has introduced a Bill in the House of Commons that provides for fixed election dates every four years. The Bill also establishes Monday, October 19, 2021 as the date of the next general election. Once the general election is held, the following election would be set for the third Monday in October, four calendar years in the future. However, if the Government loses the confidence of the House of Commons, a general election would be held in accordance with existing practices.
The Government feels that there are several advantages to fixed elections. One of the advantages is that it levels the playing field and provides greater fairness for all parties. Fixed elections will also provide transparency as to when general elections will be held. Election dates, if the Bill is passed, would then be predictable. Fixed elections will also allow for better policy planning. Members of Parliament will be able to set out their agendas well in advance, which will benefit all the Members of Parliament and it will make the policy planning process more efficient. The Government also believes that by holding fixed elections in October, that voter turnout could improve. This Bill gives citizens an opportunity to plan in advance to participate in the electoral process.
Many provinces in Canada already have fixed elections. Some of those provinces being British Columbia, Newfoundland, Labrador, and Ontario, and other governments have indicated that they are considering recommendations for similar legislation. Many countries throughout the world also have fixed elections. For example, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States all have fixed elections and the countries have had great success with it. I believe this Bill will improve Parliament and the policy making process. This Bill improves the fairness of Canada’s electoral system by eradicating the ability of political parties to exploit the election process for their own personal gain.