Politics - Federal

Election Not a Waste of Money

By Trey Shaughnessy
Published October 28, 2008

An election is never a waste of money. Any time Canadians have a chance to exercise one of the pillars of democracy is a chance for Canadians to make change (or not) in our country.

Does change have to occur for an election to be worthwhile?

Not much changed on Oct 14. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party won an additional 16 seats in Parliament and little else changed. That doesn't mean the election was pointless; clearly, many citizens voted 'if its not broken don't fix it'.

Yet many citizens believe that the government wasted $300 million to keep things the same. This is not true.

I know many web developers, graphic designers, printers, sign makers, writers, button makers, pollsters, TV networks, video producers, the people manning the election booths and every other Canadian whom profited from the election, all of whom are Canadians, all paying taxes and all spending the money with other Canadian businesses.

Close to five exchanges of this money and the government taxes have recollected all the money spent.

Call it a stimulus package if you will: elections are a good format to pump dollars into the country including local economies and it gets money to circulate.

Election costs also don't play favourites. The monies spent are proportionately spread across the country. It's democratic spending at its best.

Consider the additional dollars spent by the political parties, and Canada had a tidy sum of money pumped into the economy and that is not a waste of money.

Trey lives in Williamsville NY via Hamilton. He is a Marketing Manager for Tourism and Destination Marketing in the Buffalo-Niagara Metro.

His essays have appeared in The Energy Bulletin, Post Carbon Institute, Peak Oil Survival, and Tree Hugger.

And can't wait for the day he stops hearing "on facebook".


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By gullchasedship (registered) - website | Posted October 28, 2008 at 11:32:17

Based on that logic, every disaster is a good thing because of all the money spent on funerals and rebuilding.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 28, 2008 at 12:21:51

But all this money comes from the taxpayer at some point down the line. THis logic seems a bit iffy. It's like those devices that claim to reduce fuel usage by using your car's battery to extract hydrogen from a water tank. You can't get something for nothing.

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By doner (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 16:11:28

That is ridiculous! it's our money, there is a a huge financial crisis going on. How dare Harper make cuts ($45 million for arts programs for example) when he spends over six times that much on a futile election? $300 million for 5 weeks of 3 guys behaving in ways we tell our children not to behave, and we have to pay $300 million for it? Now we have another 2 years of two parties trying to unseat the 'ruling' one, just like we've had since Chretien - and only then will they pay attention to us again.

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By Frustrated Voter (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 16:19:12

Weak argument Trey. If Harper wanted to stimulate the economy he could have easily put the $300 million into a stimulus package - god knows there's plenty of important work that needs to be done esp. on infrastructure, that we don't need to dump the money into "busywork".

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By Nuts (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 16:25:37

How about 120 million each month on our pointless presence in Afghanistan?

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By But Wait (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 16:26:42

I think donor and voter are missing the point. The author sort of throws out the stimulus as a secondary argument but his main argument is here: "Any time Canadians have a chance to exercise one of the pillars of democracy is a chance for Canadians to make change (or not) in our country."

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By funkymunky (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 16:32:25

Sorry Trev, I’m not buying the arguments either. I don’t agree that the money was good for the economy. There is always a net loss when you spend money – even if it circulates within your own borders. Where did the raw materials for the campaign come from? What about the damage to the environment with all those flights? Tax money should be invested - so we can see some return somewhere down the line. There is no return here. And spending money just to spice up the economy is just not sound economic logic.

As for the benefit to our democracy – again I disagree. There is a risk now that even more voters have been turned off after watching 4 weeks of an election about nothing. It’s like making your employees go to a boardroom presentation and then boring them all to sleep. Guaranteed half of them will call in sick for the next one. As a politician, if you are going to call an election you have to first make sure the issues are valid and then you have to make them engaging to the electorate. All parties, with some occasional exceptions here and there, failed to do that this time around. Waste of my time, waste of my money.

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By ventrems (registered) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 18:40:07

There are better ways to spend money than an "election stimulus package," but I agree that any election is good for democracy.

I don't think every election has to occur in the context of a crisis. As Canadians, we are incredibly luck to have the chance to vote in a free and fair election. Recent elections in Zimbabwe and Kenya should remind us of how lucky we are.

The Conservatives had the longest running minority government in Canada's history and it's fair to say that the opposition needed a reminder of who the voters (still) want in charge.

What is a pointless waste of money, in my humble opininon, is the salary paid to all the Liberal "opposition" MPs who abstained from voting in Parliament. MPs are suppoesd to represent their constituents' interests, not their own. They deserved a reminder of just how fed up Canadians are with them.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 20:08:43

Yes, 41% of Canadians are fed up with the system. A system that does not represent the people's issues on many levels.

Yes, the MP's are suppose to represent the people but the party line, gets in the way, party first, people second. There are some good ones out there.

I am more concerned about SPP and what this truly means. How come so secret? How come the people do not have a representative at all these meetings? Why is it that only the top elite, the top echelons of the business community, who have the most say, how is this democratic? How can there be balance in all things when there is only one voice, a voice that is not the people?

Who knows, may be the next election, the numbers of the disenfranchised will be greater? Time will tell.....................

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By OPP (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2008 at 23:08:51

Grassroots, what is SPP?

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By beware (anonymous) | Posted October 29, 2008 at 00:10:19

I think grassroots means the Security and Prosperity Partnership between Canada, USA and Mexico.

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 29, 2008 at 20:02:48

By OPP: Yes, it is the Security and Prosperity Partnership, SPP. It is very hard to get information on this topic, one has to go to alternative media sources in an attempt to learn about this.

Our leaders and mainstream media, which is corporate control have failed to tell us what this entails. This is something that will affect us all.

I wonder if you have heard about the NAFTA superhighway, that will extend from Mexico all the way to Canada. It is a concern as there are reports that people have lost their land in Texas, as it has been expropriated. There is also concern that many jobs will be lost, such as trucking, those jobs that pay good wages. It is also a concern that we will not know what is coming into our area, as the system will change. I guess we are to trust those in charge but in my mind how can we when we are seeing many toxic products and food entering our system.

Sometimes I wonder if the ideals that so many died for in two world wars have been fought in vain? I think we need to look at the whole system, the rapid changes that are occuring.

There is much talk about security but what does that really mean? Do we want a society where every facet of your life is watched, monitored, scrutinized? Do you want your children implanted with chips? Is our society becoming too miltarized?

I don't know but what do think of this, which is an upcoming battle in the courts regarding NAFTA. There has been a concerted effort to ban pesticides as it hurts our environment, our children, yet through NAFTA, the chemical company has the right to sue for loss of profits because of the ban. Tell me, what are your feelings on this? Do you think this is fair?

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By ventrems (registered) | Posted October 30, 2008 at 12:00:23

http://www.spp-psp.gc.ca/menu-en.aspx -there's a lot to keep you busy on there...

http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pd-dp/index-eng.asp -scrutinize and monitor government spending decisions!

you'd never get this in a militarized society....

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By Grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 01, 2008 at 08:29:33

Ventrems: I am so glad that you believe what the government websites have to say, me, well I see it as something else and so do many other people.

This NAFTA on steroids, and the only ones to benefit will be the elite, not the average Canadian in any shape or form.

These so called roundtable commissions are made up of the business elite and not ordinary Canadians, who have seen toxic products, food, and many other things infiltrate our system they have seen job loses, wages drop, the decline of the ability for benefits. They have seen the social safety net decline in actual dollars that reach the people, yet the growth of the bureaucracy which much of it it privatized.

No, the only people that should be monitoring the spending is the people, the tax payers and not the elite, sorry, that is my view. It will not be long before every facet of your life is monitored, scanned, chipped.

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