Why we should have regularly-scheduled byelections
What about a second by-election date: 1st Monday in May on top of the 3rd Monday in October. It’s not quite 6 months apart but this way it’ll never run into Easter nor Victoria Day. One upshot is that representation is a bit more stable. (i.e. you’ll never not have an MP for more than ~6 months)
I'm glad you admit the self-interest in this proposal, and I, too, regret that you are away! LOL I agree that something should be done, but I would rather have a time limit on a by-election after a vacancy occurs. Or at least twice a year, as Charlie proposes. I beg to differ on the usefulness of a fix-election date law, given the gigantic loophole for the royal prerogative. While Harper's law has been adhered to fairly well at the federal level, I think almost every province has ignored its fixed-election date law at one time or another! I was all for the idea when it first arrived, but the disrespect for the law at the provincial level has been alarming!
Eric, I personally like it, but I think it wouldn’t have the same effect as in the States. They cannot change the President with the results of Mid terms but they can change the Congress which always increases the turnout. How do we do that under our form of Govt. I personally don’t see a way to do that
An interesting proposal. I'm not opposed, but I do think the representation counterargument is strong. Perhaps two uniform byelection dates each year - one in April, one in October - is the solution?
So I really like this idea; except I think we need by-elections every 6 months. So early April and early October. April also has mild weather, and people not on vacation
Now April of course students have finals; and tax professionals are super busy. But as someone who works in the tax industry and has experience in student government; it doesn't matter how over the top accessible we make it, people who want to show up will, people who don't will not. The principal of dimisnhing marginal returns applies.
I also think we need a UK style system that prevents the government from proroguing or calling elections at will.
I don’t think a lack of representation for over six months is a big issue. As I explain, I think it would become somewhat rare over time. It might be possible for the Speaker to appoint another MP as the stand-in for the vacated seat when vacancies will last for more than six months to mitigate this issue.
But don’t forget that currently a seat can go vacant for much more than six months. If the byelection is called at the last moment, the vacancy will last for over seven months, until after the vote has taken place. If the House isn’t sitting, like over the summer, the vacancy might effectively last for nine or 10 months.
So, extending that to 12 months in extreme cases, while not ideal, isn’t much of a stretch from the current arrangement.
Set byelection dates every six months would be better than the current situation, but doesn’t get the benefit of critical mass of contests. But from a strictly principled point of view, I agree it would be much better than what we have now.
October is not a good time for student voting. Many have moved into an unfamiliar constituency context, and have not have time to change their voting registration and gain identification needed to establish their connection to their new residence. Couple this, as the "Fair Elections Act" attempted to do, with prohibitions on Elections Canada voter promotion activities on campuses, and you get low student turnout.
I don't think it is any accident that the Harper Government's fixed election date is in October.
To avoid any emphasis on the irrelevancy of an individual MP and their interaction with constituents, I like the semi-annual option - but I can live with annual by-elections. Another side of the coin is the timing of resignations and their political advantages would be reduced.