No more marathon election periods, please

Who wants to be inundated with electioneering for months, and even years on end?

Who wants to be inundated with electioneering for months, and even years on end?

We sincerely hope that our member of parliament, Alistair MacGregor, is successful with the bill he table in the House of Commons last week.

The bill would limit to 46 days any federal election period.

Last year we, and the election candidates, suffered through a marathon campaign.

Everyone knew a federal election was coming and candidates began campaigning well in advance of even the painfully extended official campaigning period. Most parties started declaring candidates in January, February and March.

Then, as summer came to a close, the writ was officially dropped, but leaving months — 78 long days — before Canadians would hit the ballot box.

It was a grind for everyone.

But apart from that, the concern is that a long campaign period unfairly favours parties with lots of money to spend, and penalizes those who are operating on a shoestring.

Which is anti-democratic.

Our system is supposed to be one where you don’t have to be rich to run for office. Every person is supposed to have that right and opportunity, just as everyone’s vote is equal on voting day.

But the reality is that campaigning is expensive, and the longer the campaign the more expensive it gets.

It’s one of the problems with set election dates to begin with.

It gives people way too much time to start running for office — if they have deep enough pockets.

We certainly don’t want things to get as bad as the American system, where elections start years in advance and only the wealthy elite have any hope of affording a shot at a high public office. Which automatically means you have governments that by their very nature generally lack perspective on what the little guy is going through and what he needs.

The little guy being almost everybody, in comparison.

Just look at the circus to the south and how far it has descended into insanity. Terrifyingly, it’s more of an entertainment show than a serious political system.

MacGregor’s bill is just one step in a positive direction that Canada can take.

We also need wholesale democratic reform, with a new system that better represents the will of the voters than our current first-past-the-post system does. And there have been promises to look at it, though whether there will be real change is cloudy at best. But any small steps are welcome.