Thursday, April 27, 2006

Fixed Election Dates

The Tories are bouncing around the idea of introducing fixed election dates [Globe & Mail, Tories offer plan for fixed election dates]:
The Conservative government is canvassing the opposition parties to see whether they would support fixed dates for federal elections, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Government House Leader Rob Nicholson raised the issue Tuesday with House leaders from the Liberals, Bloc Québécois and New Democratic Party, according to parliamentary sources familiar with the meeting.


A law setting fixed election dates is unlikely to have a effect on minority governments, such as the one headed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, given their traditionally short life span, but it would tie the hands of the next prime minister who obtains a majority.
The idea that a sitting government couldn't dissolve parliament on a whim makes sense. Elections are expensive. The article cites examples of the previous governments doing just that.

I would maybe like the rules to be a little tighter about when a minority government could fall, though. The only piece of legislation deemed as a confidence motion should be the budget. The only other way a government should fall is if a specific motion of non-confidence is adopted.

I do not think the Speech from the Throne should be a confidence motion - as it's fluff - and I do not think every piece of spending legislation should be a confidence motion either - either the motion to spend is passed or not passed.

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