What is the cost of a Federal Election in Canada? - The Intrepid

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What is the cost of a Federal Election in Canada?

Last week Stephen Harper announced that a Federal Election would most likely take place in Canada on October 14th. After reneging on his own government’s legislation fixing October 2009 for the next election, Harper has received a lot of criticism from his political opponents and many Conservatives in Canada. Conservative anger is understandable after all as one of the Reform Party’s platforms was fixed election dates.

It seems that neither party will have the upper hand in this election. Even Harper admits that a minority government is the most likely outcome. So how much will a minor rearrangement of the House of Commons cost taxpayers? According to Elections Canada, the Federal Elections in 1997 and 2000 each cost approximately $200 million and the 2004 election cost $277 million. The 2006 election cost $270 million, but it is likely that a 2008 election will be even pricier.

For argument's sake, let us say that a 2008 election will cost about $300 million. There are approximately 30 million people in Canada, so that is a cost of about $10 per person. Obviously, this is a very ad-hoc and incomplete way at looking at the cost of an election. However, $10 does not seem like all that much for political entertainment. As a political junkie, I would gladly pay $10 to enjoy an entertaining election.

That is not to say that I want an election every year, or that I even think that an election right now is even necessary. At only $10, a month’s worth of political entertainment seems like a reasonable price.