Keep Your Ballot

Send me a cheque instead!

GOC Cheque

After scanning the papers this morning and reading all of the various articles opining about a possible autumn election, I have to confess to still being at a complete loss to appreciate the compelling need for one at this time — a feeling evidently shared by almost three quarters of the electorate, at least if recent polls are to be trusted. Unavoidably, my thoughts then turned to what yet another election will cost: $300 million or more by most estimates.

When mere millions are nonchalantly shrugged at these days, dwarfed in comparison to the billions and trillions of dollars routinely bandied about by governments or sloshing around in the troughs of global financial markets, $300 million may not seem like a great deal of money, but consider that this represents almost a $1,000 for every man, woman and child in Canada. In other words, if let’s say you happen to live a 3-person household, the forthcoming election will cost your family $3,000. This of course would tacked onto the same amount expended for the last completely needless exercise in democracy, bringing the grand total for our hypothetical family to $6,000 — in just one year! Now that’s a rather hefty bill for most “average” Canadians to exercise their franchise, I’d say.

Not to mention the fact that if you happen to live in a province that also held an election during the same time period, your costs would be even higher than this. And if we were being truly rigorous, then the costs would be born disproportionately by actual taxpaying citizens making the figure still more for those particular individuals.

For the sake of argument however, let’s stick to the rough calculation of $1,000 per head. Now, if you had a choice between having an election this autumn or receiving a cheque for $1,000 per person (tax-free, I might add), what would you rather have? I’ll take the cheque, thank you very much.

Math-Challenged Update: D’oh! Now you know why I went into the arts — I was always completely dreadful at math. Good grief, what was I thinking? I should really have double-checked that figure. I mean, it did seem awfully high. Well, we all make mistakes. Jim Flaherty, for example, is frequently off by BILLIONS of dollars in his reckless calculations…

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47 Comments

Filed under 2009 Election

47 responses to “Keep Your Ballot

  1. Tomm

    RT,

    Nice Tory marketing strategy.

  2. Okhropir rumiani

    Yeah, do you think auto workers would’ve preferred the money too, for education or perhaps moving to where they will be offered a job?

    It reminds me of the child care benefit cheques.

  3. Joseph

    Um, Red, it will be interesting to see if you correct this seeing as it is the basis of your argument.

    You do realize your math is off, by a factor of 100, don’t you?

    300,000,000 / 33,776,000 = $8.88

    Yeah, that’s right, less than $10.

    That’ll cover breakfast for 1 . . . 2 if you’re at Timmies . . . or just orange juice if you’re at the Ritz Carlton.

    Thanks for playing. I’m sure it will be a great ad for the conservatives.

  4. Okhropir rumiani

    d’oh!

  5. Okhropir rumiani

    I’ll still take the cheque.

  6. Tomm

    Joseph,

    Good catch.

  7. Iciu

    Well RT, it’s one of those cases when actually paying attention to the facts would have helped 🙂
    It is indeed only ~ $10/person so, in the grand scheme of things, if the outcome were a beneficial one, it’s not a bad investment… unfortunately, the Liberals doing the same thing and expecting a different result does not bode well for their level of sanity… I still have not seen any decent logical explanation for why the Liberals genuinely think a Conservative majority (or another minority) is better than a Coalition majority… do you know how Iggy is explaining this belicose attitude?

  8. Ti-Guy

    I was all prepared rebut this post by explaining that no organisation’s finances work in a way that can shuffle money from one purpose to another easily but after Joseph’s comment, it seems moot now.

    I don’t like elections because our stupid media is even stupider during campaigns, but other than that, it’s absolutely no big deal. There’s a poll right in my building and it takes me five minutes to vote.

    More substantively, the time for a new direction was last year. If not now or soon, when?

  9. Northern PoV

    Aw come on Joseph, be magnanimous and round it up to $9 already, I am sure Red really needs the cash!
    Rather nasty of you to do some simple arithmetic fact checking.

    BTW, the $300 million (plus much more spent by the parties and candidates) is immediate stimulus as almost exclusively spent on goods and services directly or indirectly by the moderate-income folks who do the work.

    Read yesterday’s Salutin:
    “Suck it up, Canada: What are we — shoppers or citizens? A portion of each, I suppose. But it’s fatal to confuse the roles, as seems to be happening with all the whinging and whining over “another” election that “nobody” wants.”

  10. Elections do create jobs…..even if for only a few weeks and I’m sure hotels, restaurants, etc. would appreciate the business …… just before Xmas shopping.

  11. Marg

    Well, I was all set to give you a lesson in arithmetic, but I see that Joseph beat me to it. 🙂

    As far as wanting an election, just call be “nobody.”

    My “safe” Liberal riding went Conservative last time, due to Dion and the Green Shift. It should return to normal now.

  12. Iciu

    Marg: do you think your safe Liberal riding would become less safe if the Liberal candidate would also have the support of the NDP and Green voters (why not include the Green in the Coalition and give them 4-5 seats across the country?) if a Coalition would be formed?

  13. JMR

    Nobody wants an election but then nobody wanted the last one either but we got it and the Cons won because they conned us. This time maybe some truth will come out but I’m not holding my breath.

  14. Gayle

    No one wants an election, but no one wants the alternative either.

    There is no need for the LPC to keep holding their noses and propping Harper up while giving the NDP and the Bloc a pass. Harper does not want to acknowledge that he cannot govern with a minority. The blame for an election lies with him.

    If he were smart he would come out now with an EI plan that is similar to the one proposed by the LPC, and throw the NDP a bone too. Then at least he would look like he is willing to work with other parties and it would be harder for the LPC to vote against him.

    But Harper wants an election – so we are going to have one, unless, of course, the NDP cave.

  15. Marg

    Iciu,

    I don’t see that happening. My riding has a very small NDP presence and an almost non-existent Green presence. Last election, some 3,000 Liberals stayed home.

  16. Tomm

    Gayle,

    There is nothing that the CPC has done to point to them wanting an election.

    The EI thing was just stupid. The Tories should be slapped for being so aggressively partisan. But that’s it.

    What else have they done?

    The only sabre rattling has been Liberal. The Tories have been ready for an election pretty much anytime since Dion’s election as LPC party leader because they knew the plug could be pulled anytime. Being ready to fight an election because one must, isn’t the same as forcing it. Right now it is one person and one person only forcing an election.

  17. takedeadaim

    having family origins to a country where there were no free elections for 70 years, i’ll never get too fussed by the cost of an election. We spend money on far worse endeavors.

    That being said, i would be more sympathetic to Iggy’s cause if this fight was over the last budget, or the upcoming budget, or the fact that Harper was trying to remove public funding of political parties.

    But we’ll have the election, and we’ll have a minority parliment, and it’ll most likely be a conservative government, or if everything goes liberal during the campaign it’ll be a liberal minority goverment.

    I thought the election we had 12 months ago was retarded. This one is just as stupid, it just has a different trigger man (same sleezy objective though).

  18. dan-o

    What if you told the canadian public that their $9 contribution would create thousands of jobs, flow money directly through their local economy, and benefit their community? Despite Harper’s giant-check writing boasts of late — what a conservative! – not even his stimulus package (all tied to being matched by strapped provincial and tapped-out municipalities) can touch every community in Canada.
    That’s what an election would bring. Just a side benefit of another shot of getting rid of this university of calgary stalin knockoff…

  19. Iciu

    Marg: what do you mean by “I don’t see that happening.”? Is it that you do not hink it would be less safe or you don’t think a Coalition would help?
    Can you share the results of the last eelction in your riding, I have a hard time believing a “safe Liberal riding” does not have at least 10-15% combined NDP and Green voters and since it was this close last time, I think 10-15% would defnitely make a big difference…

    If the NDP votes with the Cons and manage to actually obtain somehting (like EI reform), it’s better than having another election with the same results and just postpone everythign for another 6-12 months, I do not see it at all as “caving”… “caving” was what the Liberals did all the time after the Cons got the power when they voted for everythign questionable that they wnated to pass… a bit of reality check does go a long way

  20. Clown Party

    I suppose the LIEberals under Iffy does NOT want a majority?

    Of course ALL parties want a majority. What is wrong with this picture, do the LIEberals think they are the only ones that deserve a majority? Last time the LIEberals had one it took years to bring it back to the point where Canada is one of the best countries in the world to be in during this global recession. This forced election by the LIEberals and Iffy will destroy all that.

    With the loss of 2% in GST {Grits [- sounds like *&^ts] Support Tories Tax} which comes to @ 15 billion dollars given back to Canadians – that Iffy wants to raise back to 7%.

    I think it is worth $8.88 for an election and keep the GST at 5%. If you want an increase in taxes then vote for Iffy’s LIEberals. LIEberals should at least tell Canadians how they “can do better” under these circumstances. This means that they agree that the Cons are doing very well but they think they can do better. [What is the secerete of balancing the budget with no new taxes other than cut progrems – such as cutting miltaray, transfer funds, health care transfers etc…. – or raising existing taxes.]

  21. Kaplan

    That “LIEberal” thing is quite clever. But will it ever catch on?

  22. Gayle

    “There is nothing that the CPC has done to point to them wanting an election.”

    Then why haven’t they done anything to avoid one? You do know it is Harper’s responsibility to maintain the confidence of the House – right? Layton is out there holding out an olive branch, and Harper’s boys are mocking him. Think about that.

    “The EI thing was just stupid. The Tories should be slapped for being so aggressively partisan. But that’s it.”

    In June, the LPC stated they were prepared to force an election over this. They compromised with the panel. The CPC take that compromise and use it as a launching pad for more lies and partisan attacks. They said they would negotiate in good faith and then they didn’t. They proved, once and for all, that they are not even remotely interested in hearing from the parties that represent 80% of the country. They have proven they are not fit to govern.

  23. Tomm

    Clown Party,

    Your points are obscured by your use of pejorative terms for Ignatieff and the Liberal Party of Canada. Don’t do that. Myself and everybody else just quits reading at that point.

  24. Tomm

    Gayle,

    I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said. That in a nutshell, is Ignatieff’s case.

    The problem is that it isn’t worth an election in and of itself.

    It is too arcane for the average voter to link back to “throw the bums out”. Unless of course you are a partisan. And there aren’t enough of those voting to win an election.

    There is a greater likihood of a backlash against an Ignatieff led LPC.

    If Harper gets a majority, the LPC is thrown back into chaos. Is that what you wanted Ignatieff to do this fall?

  25. Dean

    I’ll gladly pay $9 to get rid of this bunch of jokers in Ottawa…

  26. I never get this argument. Where do people think the money goes? We don’t pay China to run our elections.

    That $300 million will go to Elections Canada workers (i.e., Canadians who presently don’t have jobs) and every kind of local business. Campaigns buy advertisements in local newspapers and on local or national networks (not American ones). They rent out offices currently up for lease, and that money goes to Canadians. They pay for pizza for their volunteers (and they usually don’t import the pizza from Italy). They pay for phone and internet from Bell and Rogers, they buy signs printed by local printers.

    The $300 million isn’t just burned. It goes into the Canadian economy.

  27. Gayle

    Tomm – we go back to the question of how we can avoid an election. We can’t – unless Harper starts dealing with the other parties, as he is obliged to do.

    Why should the LPC support legislation and financial statements that go against what they, and their voters, believe is right for the country just because Harper cannot compromise.

    Enough is enough already. The ball is in his court, and he clearly wants an election.

  28. Ti-Guy

    I just want to say that Tomm was correct in the first comment. This is a good Tory marketing strategy. Actually, it’s not even a strategy. Problems with basic math is default Tory behaviour.

    And Tomm, the Tory lies about the Liberals’ EI proposal were unacceptable. That you can dismiss it so blithely is just more proof that your party is not fit to govern.

  29. CWTF

    The blame for an election lies with him.
    Gayle, you are wrong here.
    If we are to believe the Liberals with “this is Harper’s secret agenda”, then we are learning nothing new.
    Iggy, for some unknown reason, has said he is going for an election. Until recently, the Liberal brain trust was quite content to support the Conservatives.
    As Dr. Dawg so succinctly put it: “Librocons: one party, two wings”…

    The person who now wants an election is Iggy, I find it disingenuous that you’d pretend otherwise. There is no more talk of farcical “probation” or other batshit crazy new speak…

  30. Gayle

    I am not pretending Ignatieff does not want an election. Clearly he does.

    However, his reasons for wanting one are legit.

    People have been complaining ad nauseum about the LPC propping Harper up. If I recall correctly, you are one of those people. While I agree I would have preferred the LPC stopped propping him up a long time ago, I am happy they have finally stopped.

    Harper, however, could avoid an election. He is choosing not to.

  31. CWTF

    I don’t think that Iggy’s reasons are legit.
    Most pundits are scratching their heads at this one…

    It seems that all parties are self-serving.
    Why should the BQ back down? They are up in Quebec.
    The Conservatives (depending on the polling day) will gain seats.
    The Liberals seem to have peaked.

    So, why should Harper back down? Iggy set the wheels in motion….

    Iggy should have gone with the coalition, now I’m quite jaded with the Liberals especially when they tell me they are doing this for the good of the country…

  32. Ti-Guy

    As Dr. Dawg so succinctly put it: “Librocons: one party, two wings”…

    That’s stolen from Gore Vidal, I believe.

  33. Gayle

    Well what do you want them to do.

  34. Tomm

    The Liberal Party should get down on its hands and knees (Steve MacKinnon too) and apologize to the Canadian people for EVERYTHING. Everything that is bad about this country I can leave at the feet of a Liberal government. Everything that is good and right was either hacked to death by a Liberal government, or came about due to the work of someone else. (wink,wink)

    That’s what I want… but I know I won’t get it because the LPC just refuses to go off into the wilderness for a little self reflection. Even one little year of no John McCallum, no Hedy Fry, etc. etc. would be such a nice break.

  35. Gayle

    Wow Tomm, you are really going off the rails now.

    In any event, that question was meant for CWTF, who has complaints. I am insterested in his ideas for a solution.

  36. Ti-Guy

    That’s what I want… but I know I won’t get it because the LPC just refuses to go off into the wilderness for a little self reflection. Even one little year of no John McCallum, no Hedy Fry, etc. etc. would be such a nice break.

    Stop listening to wingnut radio.

  37. CWTF

    Solutions for what Gayle?

  38. Gayle

    I have just asked you what you think the LPC should be doing. You say you are jaded with them, and the coalition is off the table.

    Is it your position Ignatieff should simply continue to prop up Harper? And if so, until when? What has to happen for you to support an election?

  39. CWTF

    Iggy says “we can do better” – okay so start by telling us how. So far, it has only been rhetoric.

    Iggy has not shown how he is different from Harper on most issues, there is little insentive to vote Iggy…

    Unless the Liberals differentiate themselves from the HarperCons, I don’t think there will be much lust for an election.

    I’m with Montreal Gazette when they say that the NDP or the BQ will save us from the election folly.

  40. Brad

    Nobody wants an election? Are we losing site of the fact that an election is our way of demonstrating our democratic rights?
    At what cost democracy? We could be fighting for our lives instead, like in Afganistan.
    $300 million is a lot of money but this is the cost of a minority government not willing to govern.
    I, for one, am always excited to vote. It is not an inconvenience and I get a chance to be heard.

  41. Gayle

    I tend to agree that the NDP will prevent an election.

    I also agree that I want to know how the LPC will do better, but I am content to wait until an election to find out.

    I remember when everyone said Dion should put some policy on the table, and then when he did, they said he was crazy to put it on the table before the election.

    I also firmly believe that Harper with a minority is a different person than Harper with a majority. So, sure, maybe not a whole lot of difference between minority Harper and the LPC.

    Where I think you can find the difference is respect for our institutions. Harper is on constant attack mode against the Senate, the judiciary, Elections Canada etc. The LPC are not. Harper constantly polarizes, and that is dangerous for the country. So even if Ignatieff ends up being Harper without the polarization and the hate I think we are better off.

  42. Gayle

    For the record, I am NOT a fan of Ignatieff. I believe one of the reasons the LPC got into a hole is because Ignatieff stood by silently while his minions worked diligently to undermine Dion.

  43. Stan

    While I am not over the top joyous about an election, I believe it is the cornerstone of our democracy. As citizens and voters it is our responsibility to exercise that franchise whenever the opportunity arises.
    It is our only true voice and quite frankly the only time that we can effect any kind of change or even maintain the status quo if that is the overall desire of Canadians.
    The government of Canada is spending a tremendous amount of stimulus money that I believe needs some accountability. I do not know about anyone else, but I sure have not seen any major or massive results with perhaps the exception of the rescue of the auto industry and the home repair business.
    This would have been a great time for a truly visionary package to create a lasting legacy in Canada, perhaps with a new National Dream in Transportation, a new plan to move energy from province to province, a national plan to do something that would instill in Canadians a pride in their country to achieve something beyond what we have.
    Who knows, maybe this time the CPC candidates will come out and play (debate) the issues as they see them indvidually. It is our responsibility as voters/citizens to force the debate, to ask the questions and decide for ourselves which one is deserving of our vote.
    Voting at any time is not a privilege, it is the most precious and sacred right that we have in a free democracy.

  44. Joseph

    Hey Red,

    I was out all day – mountain biking in fact, before the rainy season descends upon us 😉 – so I didn’t see your update until now.

    Good point on Flaherty! Hey, you could be the next finance minister 😉

  45. Joseph — I was busy in the morning and then took the afternoon off to enjoy some of the beautiful weather, so I didn’t see your initial comment until I got back.

    Man, did I ever feel like a grade-A bonehead. As such, yes, I suppose I could well be finance minister. 🙂

  46. rod

    As I understand it, if an election were held, the atrocious recroom renovation subsidy would not take effect. On that basis alone an election is a good idea.
    Spending $300 million would save us from flushing $3 billion down the shithole.

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