Advance polling opened on Sept. 10 in the Centre Square Mall in Yellowknife while Elections Canada has said it is reviewing its voting locations after indoor gathering limits of 25 people were announced by chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola on Sept. 8. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

Advance polling opened on Sept. 10 in the Centre Square Mall in Yellowknife while Elections Canada has said it is reviewing its voting locations after indoor gathering limits of 25 people were announced by chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola on Sept. 8. Blair McBride/NNSL photo

EDITORIAL: Considering the cost of an election

In other parts of the world, our electoral system is an unattainable dream

The Sept. 20 federal election has run its course, but some in Canada continue to see it a colossal waste of money, a $610 million expense during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in little change to the structure of the House of Commons.

Once again, the federal Liberals, under Justin Trudeau, form the governing party after winning 159 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party won 119 seats to retain its role as the official opposition. The Bloc Quebecois won 33 seats, the New Democrats won 25, the Greens won two and the People’s Party of Canada did not win any.

The Liberals garnered 32.6 per cent of the popular vote, while the Conservatives were supported by 33.7 per cent of Canadian voters.

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These numbers are all similar to the 2019 federal election, raising the question of whether there was any point in sending Canadians to the polls less than two years after the last federal election. Some have suggested the money could have been better spent on social programs or pandemic relief efforts.

The price of this election is significant, but it’s the cost of having a democracy. In other parts of the world, our electoral system is an unattainable dream.

Earlier this year, the Democracy Index rankings placed Canada’s democracy in fifth place out of 167 countries around the world. The others in the top spots were Norway, Iceland, Sweden and New Zealand. The annual index, conducted each year by The Economist, a London-based news magazine, listed only 23 countries, with just 8.4 per cent of the world’s population, as full democracies.

The United States was listed as a flawed democracy, resulting from a loss of trust in that country’s institutions.

More than one-third of the world’s population are in countries classified as authoritarian regimes. These are dictatorships or countries where political pluralism does not exist, or where free and fair elections do not occur.

While not all are happy with the results of our federal election, there have not been widespread accusations of election fraud or rigged results. The results are trusted.

What we have is the envy of many around the world.

While many see our recent federal election as a waste of time and money, it would be far worse to live in a country without free and fair elections.

— Black Press

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EditorialsElection 2021