Craig's Take: The meaning of incumbent wins
Published Friday, October 7, 2011 1:26PM EDT
On Question Period this Sunday, we will be exploring some of the themes which tied together five elections in Canada during the last five months.
In all of these cases, incumbent governments have been returned.
I believe Canadians have been voting for safety and stability in the face of what Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself called "perilous threats to the global economy."
Although in some cases opposition parties have broadened their support and one increased their seat totals, voters have given government a mandate and cast their ballots against change.
There is another theme which appears to put a lie to what for a while became the oft-repeated anthem of the right, which was that the political centre in Canada is now dominated by conservative values.
In other words, the belief is that the dominant feature of political life in Canada has seen the right-of-centre become the new majority.
However, in three provinces last week (Ontario, Manitoba and PEI) moderate progressive governments were re-elected.
For conservatives, the biggest shocker of all may have been in Alberta where the new premier, Alison Redford, befitting her name, is considered a red Tory by her critics.
Poor voter turnout
There is another phenomenon in all of these elections which should give us pause for thought, and it is abysmally low voter turnout.
Barely less than 50 per cent of eligible voters in Ontario on Thursday cast a ballot, and in the federal election last May, voter turnout wasn't much better at around 61 per cent.
Why can't we not make it easier to vote?
On Wednesday, one of the globe's great innovators and high-tech geniuses, Steve Jobs, died.
He had made possible something I could never have imagined that any two people in the globe could chat, and do so at any time wherever they were on the surface of the earth, easily with audio, video, print or both.
So why is it not possible for us to vote using the same technology? There must be ways of adequately protecting privacy and security if only our antiquated political system could set aside rigid 19th century voting patterns and adapt to the new realities.
Election night in Canada would then be social networking writ large.
Those are some of the ideas we'll discuss with our always well-informed panels of politicos and others this Sunday.
- Craig Oliver