by Myles Fish
You can breathe.
Not safe from question period tomfoolery, nor Stevie Wonder and Iggy Pop trying to out-sweeten each other through your television sets, but we’re free from another election – saved by our white (moustached) knight Jack Layton – for now.
Cherish the moment, because if we’ve learned anything in the last five years it is that politicians seek elections like Moammar Gadhafi seeks out prime spots to pitch his tent.
The facts speak for themselves. Three elections in five years; three consecutive minority governments for Canadians to enjoy put up with.
We’re really quite tired of elections, something leaders like to claim when convenient but happily ignore when the prospect of a dozen more seats starts dancing in their heads.
I used to scoff at the idea of fixed election dates proposed by Stephen Harper. But that was before he proved to us all that he is essentially a real-life Ned Flanders, donning goofy sweaters and possessing no evil bones in his body.
We were promised fixed election dates back in November 2006, of course. But there we were, less than two years later, having to listen to Jack Layton’s delusions about being prime minister and Gilles Duceppe stumbling to explain himself.
With Saskatchewan’s own relative political calm evident since fixed election legislation was introduced here in 2008, one can’t help but wish to see such a thing on the national level.
So let’s say elections have to be held every four years exactly, eh? Done.
But minority parliaments are a unique lot, so let’s have a little fun with them. Suppose an election still has to be held every four years, but in a minority situation an election could be forced after two rounds of the calendar.
All parties would be forbidden to call/force an election for the first two years following a vote. This would give Canadians and parliamentarians 730 full days of serenity, free from non-confidence votes and threats. What a productive period this could be.
After this time, they’d be free to get election fever if they so choose.
Like every good law, though, there needs to be a loophole so here it is: it would be possible to force an election before the two years is up, but you would have to pay a price for your itchy trigger finger.
Want to take advantage of a ‘sexy’ government scandal one year in? Go for it, but all your opponents get 30 vote head starts over you in every riding.
Thinking of forming a three-party coalition three months after the last election? Allez-y. But here’s the deal, you have to give control of your platform to the Rhinoceros Party.
Or, feeling delusions of grandeur after too much champagne at the election night party? You get your wish, but we’re making you run a Stéphane Dion look-alike in every riding.
We’d be guaranteed oodles more political stability and would be saved at least a little from the labour-intensive task of marking an ‘X’ on a ballot.
Now only if we had a prime minister who kept his word on the issue.