The rising cost of Canadian democracy - Metro US

The rising cost of Canadian democracy

I usually consider myself in the know when it comes to government, municipal or otherwise. But this year’s election for mayor already has 10 candidates with probably two or three more waiting in the wings.

Unfortunately, this total also includes three aldermen, who will probably be putting their day jobs on hold, even if they promise they won’t.

I think it’s great that we live in a country where anyone can run for mayor, but it doesn’t mean everyone should. A proper mayoral campaign probably costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. When Alnoor Kassam ran in 2007, he spent $1.5 million and didn’t even come close to taking down Bronco Dave. In fact, Bronconnier’s seven competitors combined only garnered 38 per cent of the vote.

Talk about a waste of time, money and energy.

It would be refreshing if some of these candidates took a step back and realized that, while they’re allowed to exercise their democratic right, they’re probably doing more damage to the system than good. There is no way voters can make an informed decision when 10 different people are running for the same job. After all, when you ask people why they don’t vote, they will usually tell you they don’t know enough about the candidates. Well no wonder! There is no possible way for the media to fairly and accurately cover the platforms, news conferences and campaign trail happenings of all candidates.

With so many people struggling to make ends meet, it becomes frustrating to watch some of these candidates wasting their money, seemingly just because they want to make a point. For the candidates who know they have no chance at winning, wouldn’t their resources be better used in assisting so many of this city’s vital community-based organizations? It is not that their enthusiasm for Calgary isn’t respected, I just feel like that energy could be put towards more philanthropic ventures.

Don’t worry political science majors, I’m not saying democracy doesn’t work. I’m happy to report that it is safe in Canada and it isn’t going anywhere. You don’t need to be so protective of it.

Of course, it could be worse — Toronto now has a total of 29 people running for the position of mayor. But maybe they are more accustomed to wasting money — a $2-million fake lake for the G20 conference is being built there, after all.

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