I was under the impression that “fixed” election dates were reliable, dependable dates voters could count on and plan for… like the fixed date for America’s presidential elections: every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
Prior to being anointed Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford promised Albertans fixed election dates. It turns out, however, “fixed” means something different to Ms Redford and the Progressive Conservative Party.
Her version of fixed elections actually means having elections within a nebulous three-month period… between March 1 and May 31. “Fixed” doesn’t actually mean “fixed” (as in immovable) but flexible, in a sort of cryptic way. Fixed election dates are quite common in Canada. We have them in seven provinces and in each “fixed” actually refers to a specific date upon which elections are held every four or five years.
The flexibility in Alberta’s new “fixed election period” is a way for the governing party to maintain political advantage over other political parties in the province. Ms. Redford has explained away her “fudging” by blaming the unpredictability of Alberta’s weather. If Ms. Redford can predict the weather three months in advance, she is going to be a great leader. As for following through on promises… not so much.
Even our federal government has legislated fixed election dates. Canada will have a federal election on October 19th, 2015. This trend toward positive democratic change is wonderful and truly helps level the political playing field. However, it makes Premier Redford’s decision all the more odd. The PC party still seems to think political power is more important than a fair democratic process.
It’s great our premier wants to appear true to her word, but the PC’s political games continue. Alberta still needs a real fixed election date… a concrete day every Albertan can depend upon. It’s the only fair and democratic way… even if it snows that day.