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Punish the opposition for this unnecessary election

By in Opinions

ALEX WOZNICA
The Concordian (Concordia University)

Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles DuceppeMONTREAL (CUP) — Only a trouncing at the polls will convince the federal opposition parties to think twice before bringing down a federal government.

On March 25, Canada’s 40th Parliament was dissolved as a result of a vote of non-confidence. The election, which will take place on May 2, will be the fourth in seven years and will surely cost $300 million and be a general waste of time.

What is worse is that according to recent polls, Canadians do not want an election at this point in time. Canadians would be wise in demonstrating their distaste regarding the upcoming election by voting against those responsible for bringing them about: The NDP, Bloc Québécois and Liberals.

A recent Ipsos poll revealed that 50 per cent of Canadians wanted the opposition parties to pass the proposed budget, and thus avoid a federal election. It seems as if going against what was apparently the stated desire of half of the country’s population would have been a bad idea for a group of parties attempting to eventually get elected. While it would make a little more sense if the opposition parties were doing especially well in the polls, the fact is that they are not.

Recent polls have had the Conservatives near the percentage that may be necessary to achieve a majority: 39 per cent. In contrast, the Liberals are quite a ways behind at 27 per cent, while the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois enjoy the support of 16 and 10 per cent of Canadians respectively.

One wonders what particular electoral strategy is behind the three opposition parties dragging the country into an election at a time when they are all significantly disadvantaged in terms of voter support.

The opposition parties’ stated reasons for bringing about this election are problematic as well. Their apparent loss of confidence in the government stemmed from the government being found in contempt of parliament as a result of their lack of disclosure regarding certain expenditures.

While it is clear the Harper government should have fully disclosed all financial details involved in the projects in question, such a mistake seems to hardly warrant plunging the nation into the uncertainty and near halting of governance that characterizes the federal election process.

Clearly, the decision by the opposition-dominated committee that found the government in contempt of Parliament, as well as the vote of no confidence that followed it, were motivated far more by political motives than by legitimate concerns over Conservative governance.

The question then arises: How should Canadians respond to the main opposition parties bringing about an election they did not want for seemingly trivial reasons?

Instead of simply not voting, as over 40 per cent of Canadians chose to do in the last election, they should vote against the three opposition parties responsible for the upcoming election, which basically means voting for the Conservative party. This should not be a problem for supporters of the New Democrats, Liberals or even of the Bloc Québécois, as aside from minor variations, all the main parties have essentially the same vision for Canada’s future and support the interests of the same individuals, institutions and corporations.

Only a tremendous trouncing at the polls seems likely to convince the New Democrats, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois that federal elections should occur far less frequently than they have in the past seven years, and more importantly, for the right reasons.

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image: The Sheaf

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