Canada elections take place in several jurisdictions. They are for the federal government, provincial and territorial governments, and municipal governments. Elections also take place for many other private as well as public sectors.
1. Elections in Canada.
Formal elections were held in Canada since 1792, and all Canadian citizens who are of the age of 18 or above can vote in the election. The recent election that took place was the Canadian federal election on October 21, 2019.
Apart from the rules and regulations that are followed in the election, there are other interesting facts regarding the Canada elections. Let us see what they are.
1. Working in the Electoral System.
The Canada election takes place according to a first-past-the-post electoral system. It is a plurality voting method and is used in systems that use single-member electoral divisions. In the first-past-the-post electoral system, voters cast a vote for their candidate of choice. The candidate getting the highest number of votes wins the election even if it is less than half of the votes.
2. Political Parties Participating.
In the Canada elections, five main parties participate. The Liberal Party, headed by Prime Minister Trudeau, the Conservative Party, headed by Andrew Scheer, the Green Party led by Elizabeth May, the New Democratic Party led by Jagmeet Singh, and the Bloc Quebecois, directed by Yves-Francois Blanchet.
3. Election Day.
For a long time in the past, the Canada elections did not have a fixed time. The Prime Minister and his government decided it. In recent years, the government has decided to make changes in the democratic system for reformation. The fixed dates for the election was a plan in this decision. So as part of the recovery, the elections were decided on specific fixed dates; during October. Also, in most of the provinces, this takes place on a Monday.
4. Electoral Commission.
The electoral commission conducting the Canada elections is one of the oldest and first independent electoral commissions in the world. It is an electoral system that has constantly been growing. Since the formation of Canada, many changes in law and order took place, and as a result of this, the current electoral system was formed.
Election officials now control the electoral system. Earlier it was controlled by political parties and had a lot of political intervention. But later, this was given to the other officials, and all the political parties were taken away from charge. This was one of the significant as well as a crucial decision in the history of Canada elections.
5. Ways of Voting.
In the Canada elections, there are many ways in which the voters can cast their votes. This includes voting on the day of the election, in advance polling days which are held on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday and, Monday the week before the day of the vote, by mail or in person at any Elections Canada office across the country.
6. History of Ballot Boxes.
Many years ago, there were no ballot boxes during the election. People used to speak out the name of the person they would like to elect, and the count was recorded. But later on, ballot boxes were introduced along with the secret ballot.
The ballot boxes introduced in Canada for the Canada elections were made of wood ad had a lock and key. This was along with the introduction of a secret ballot in 1874. Later, they became metal during the period between 1988 and 1992. After this, gradually, it was changed to recyclable cardboard so that they need not be stored in between elections.
7. The Oldest and The Youngest.
The Canada elections witnessed the oldest and youngest sitting Members of the Parliament. The most former sitting MP during the 2015 federal election was David Tilson. He was 74 years, 11 months when he won the election. William Anderson Black remains the oldest ever having first been elected to the House of Commons at 76 years and winning his last election when he was 83.
The youngest sitting Member of Parliament in Canada ever was Pierre-Luc Dusseault. He was only 19 years old when he was elected in the 2011 federal election. He was sworn in just two days after his 20th birthday. He was re-elected in 2015 and remained the youngest sitting MP ever in Canada.
8. Secret Voting.
During the reform to extend the voting rights and develop the election procedures, they also knew that a democratic election demanded a secret ballot. This idea was first advocated in the Australian state of Victoria and passed the first secret ballot law in March 1856.
In Canada elections, the first secret ballot was enacted by Canada’s newest province, British Columbia, in the month of February 1873. Ontario and the federal government followed it in 1874, Québec and Nova Scotia in the year 1875. Prince Edward Island brought the secret ballot in 1877, and rescinded it in the year 1879 but refused to adopt it permanently until 1913.
9. Eligibility to Vote.
In the colonies that were later formed as Canada, voting eligibility was limited only to a small population. Women were not allowed to vote, and only men were supposed to vote. There was filtering in this category too. To be eligible, a man has to have properties and assets of a specific value and must pay a certain amount as tax.
This law that was in power during the earlier time of Canada elections also restricted people from certain religious groups from voting. So, in short, after filtering all these sorts of groups, only a small amount of the population had the right to vote. This was difficult as only a small group showed their consent as to who should be ruling the country.
The changes that occurred in the right to vote were not in order or consistent. First, the eligibility to vote based on property ownership changed in time. Because of this, some people would be taken off their rights and will be returned to them some years later. Also, laws were brought in the right to vote that some people who enjoyed the right would suddenly be deprived of it.
The rules now are very different today. One must only be a Canadian citizen of age 18 or more to be eligible to vote.
10. Electoral Funding.
Canada elections have strict electoral funding laws. According to this law, no unions or corporations can contribute to political parties and candidates. But if, and only if a Canadian party needs voter support, they can receive public campaign funds amounting to 1.75 dollars per vote.
When the Canada elections take place, the most crucial source of funding for the political parties is the expense reimbursement that subsidizes 50% of the national campaign expense that obtains at the most 2 percent support from the whole country or 5 percent from the electoral districts in which their candidates are presented.
Because of this system, the more a party spends, the more they will be subsidized. And due to these subsidizations, the public funds will be magnified. The loans given to political parties and candidates will also be able to determine how much public money they will receive.
During the 2008 Canada election, the Conservative party spent the most, and, as a result of this, they received the most substantial reimbursements under this public subsidy in 2009.
11. Head of State.
It is an exciting thing to know that the Head of the State of Canada is Queen Elizabeth II. Isn’t that strange? She is represented by the Governor-General of Canada David Johnston, who handles various other important political roles like signing legislation into law, calling elections, and so on.
Queen Elizabeth II is shared with 15 other countries as their Head of State. She has been the Head of the State of Canada since February 6, 1952.
12. Magna Carta and Free elections.
Even though the electoral system of Canada elections is governed and controlled by the ParliamentParliament and legislature of each province, the rules followed are based on the scriptures of Magna Carta followed for around 800 years ago in England.
The Magna Carta stated that the king had no right to decide the advisors’ group he wanted to preside in the new House of Commons. He only had the right to issue what is called writs today and summon the people who won the most number of votes in each province or district. This principle was brought from British to Canada. From then onwards, federal and provincial elections are organized according to the dropping and returning of writs of the vote in each district or province.
13. Candidate Nomination.
All the candidates participating in the Canada elections are supposed to file their nomination papers before the nomination day. It does not take into consideration whether a candidate chooses to stand for a part or as an independent candidate or whether the candidate is selected before or after the writ period starts. Most of the time, the political parties choose the candidates before the writ period begins. And because of this, it has been legal that the expenses of the political party before the writ period will not be considered as election expenses.
The nomination forms usually enquire details like the name of the candidate, contact information, a picture for identification enclosed with a letter of selection by the leader of the part he/she is representing.
14. Restriction of Media.
The Canada elections prohibit media from broadcasting the public opinion polls on the day prior or immediately to the elections. They also prevent them from announcing the results of places, where the polls close before the rest of the country. But because of the rising of social-media journalism, this has been difficult to enforce.
During the writ period, advertisements of the political parties are also restricted. The violations that take place are handled by a separate official independent of the government. Their activities are closely associated with the chief electoral officer. Also, these offenses are followed by law limitations, so that no legal action could be taken after a certain period.
2. Canadian Federal Election, 2019.
The Canadian Federal Election (2019) was held on October 21, 2019, to elect the members for the 43rd Canadian Parliament of the House of Commons. Governor General Julie Payette issued the writs of the election on September 11, 2019.
The Liberal Party lead by the then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won 157 seats forming a minority government, but lost the majority the party won in 2015. By dropping the popular votes to the Conservatives, this is the second time in Canadian history when a governing party is forming a government by receiving less than 35% of the national popular vote. This was also the first time in Canadian history that no single party won more than 35% of the national popular vote.
It was two months before the election that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was pulled back again into the SNC leveling scandal where he interfered in a judicial matter. It was a scandal that had a significant blow towards his administration and also threatened his hopes of re-election.
According to the reports of the scandal, Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion said that Prime Minister Trudeau pressurized his former attorney general last year to help SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. settle the corruption charges out of court for federal benefits. Also, the Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer commented on Trudeau being the first prime minister in the history of Canada to be found guilty of breaking federal ethics laws and asked the police to investigate into the matter.
On February 11, 2019, due to the immense pressure from the Conservative Party and other major political parties of Canada, Mario Dion, the Parliament of Canada’s Ethics Commissioner, launched a federal investigation into the issue. The purpose of the ethics review is to look into any possible contravention of rules that would prohibit public office holders from using their position to interfere in the issues of the judiciary or likewise.
Later on December 18, 2019, the company pleaded guilty of the charges regarding bribing Libyan officials.
Also, due to the scandal, Canada has been listed in the list of corrupted countries, according to Transparency International. They also say that Canada elections are becoming an increasingly popular place for money laundering through shell companies so that paying taxes could be avoided.
The facts regarding the Canada elections are not limited to this. There are many more exciting facts about the votes that you know. Let us know them in the comments.