Elections are a process in which Canadian citizens express their preferences about who will represent and govern them. Those preferences are combined to decide which candidates will become Members of Parliament. Elections are fundamental to the operation of democracy in Canada as they are the central means by which citizens grant authority to those who govern them.
THE FIRST SHUDDER of snap-election fever had barely rippled through Ottawa before tacticians in all parties started whispering it wasn't, couldn't be - come on now, let's be serious - the real thing. The fall of a minority, they reasoned, is supposed to be based on a solid calculation.
It was a lesson in the new politics of fiscal conservatism: governments can cut deep and fast - and still go on to post massive electoral victories. Witness Alberta Premier Ralph KLEIN'S romp at the ballot box last week as his Tories captured 63 of 83 seats in the legislature.
IT'S NEVER GOOD to use your best material before its time. "No backing down," Tony Blair once said. "Backbone, not backdown, is what Britain needs." The only problem is he said it in 1998 when he'd been prime minister for barely a year, and nobody seriously expected him to back down on anything yet.
Not even the newly acquired suntan could disguise Tony Blairs discomfort. The British prime minister sat tight-lipped and grim-faced on his first day back in the House of Commons last week following a Christmas vacation break in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean.