R2: Expense of Election 2015

Canadian bills (old style)I’m posting on the reasons I won’t vote for Stephen Harper and his party:

Related to yesterday’s post on the length of the election in 2015 is its cost. Estimates for Canadian elections range across the board: at least partially because it seems that Elections Canada has no requirement to “publish detailed breakdowns of each election’s cost” (CBC, 2011). So much for an open and transparent government: but I digress. I’ve seen significant variation in the costs of our last election: though the official Elections Canada number is $292 million. This year’s election was estimated at costing $375 million: assuming it was only 37 days long. That’s $10 million per day. Not all costs, of course, are proportional to the length of the election, but a lot of things are. This one is twice as long, there are 10% more ridings (and thus 10% more candidates), and the cost of everything has gone up. Common estimates for this next election will be over half a billion dollars (Metro News, 2015). And Mr. Harper has arranged it so that taxpayers are more on the hook for that amount than ever before (The Star, 2015).

By comparison, the cost of the next election in the U.S. will probably be about $8 billion (OpenSecrets.org). Mr. Harper loves to see himself next to the U.S., so it’s a perfectly appropriate comparison. That’s about 10 or 11 billion $Canadian, after conversion. Then again, they have ten times as many taxpayers as are in Canada, so a better number for comparison is just over a billion, Canadian. And in fact this whittles down even further to about 40$C per registered voter. In 2011, the last Canadian election cost per voter was $19.66 (National Post, 2015); given the half billion dollar pricetag this time that puts the price at about $33.66 $Canadian. Not bad, eh? That comes in at 15% less than the American costs. Pretty good, Mr. Harper. Except, of course, that the American election season lasts almost two years: they’ve already started campaigning for the elections in November 2016. Ours is two months: and we can spend almost as much as they do (per voter) in one twelfth the time.

In spite of this extra expense, one of Canada’s “watchdogs” (who sounds like he’s more watch than dog) says, “While we may have to spend more than 500 million dollars on this year’s election… we’re getting a chance to choose our leaders.” (CFRA, 2015) Apparently this guy doesn’t think much of efficiency: more like a sleepdog if you ask me. Canada’s politicians are answering our questions and showing us who is a good leader no matter the season, no matter the cost. And seeing how much Mr. Harper is willing to waste on this election, he shows that he’s not even a good fiscal conservative.

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One Response to R2: Expense of Election 2015

  1. Pingback: Anyone But Harper | The Geographer's Corner

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