Random Pondering

With a federal election likely happening in the next few weeks, as well as the Alberta PCs and Liberals having holding leadership contests I figured now would be an interesting time to get back into blogging.

I thought I would start with a few random thoughts and ponderings I’ve had lately that may at some point be expanded into larger posts as well.
Postal Strike and a Federal Election?
It is looking more and more like there will be a federal election this spring. Based on what I am hearing from postal workers I know it is also looking like Canadian Union of Postal Workers will be going on strike at some point this spring. This means that there is a chance that there could be a postal strike during a federal election (unless there is legislation in place preventing them from doing so. I don’t know of any but some provinces have legislation keeping their public sector workers on the job during election periods, so the existence of similar legislation at the federal level would not surprise me.).
If a strike does occur it will be interesting to see how the various parties react. Both in terms of their messaging related towards the strike, but perhaps even more interesting will be how the parties deal with the logistical issues a postal worker strike may pose for their campaigns. Mailings, whether it’s a simple post card asking for a vote or a full platform, are a key component in many campaigns, and not having postal service would force campaigns to either focus on other ways to communicate with voters, or deliver more leaflets on their own. Elections Canada would also have to find another way to deliver voting information to the public since mail is their primary method of communication. Then there is sending documents required for campaigns as well as shipping campaign materials – which I suppose could just be shifted to courier services or electronic methods in the case of documents.
Obviously social media is playing an important role in many campaigns – though perhaps a postal strike will put an even greater emphasis on social media. The money not spent on mailings could also in this hypothetical situation also simply find itself shifted towards radio or television advertising, or hiring more phonebanks to call voters than normal.
I noticed a number of people are ending up here searching for whether a strike can happen during a federal election – specifically postal strikes. This blog is actually the first result on Google when you search “can there be a strike during a federal election,” among others.
I’m not actually sure, but this is what the Canada Labour Code says about the matter (which would apply to Canada Post):

Right to strike or lockout limited during period between Parliaments

90. (1) Where a strike or lockout not prohibited by this Part occurs or may occur during the time commencing on the date of a dissolution of Parliament and ending on the date fixed for the return of the writs at the next following general election and, in the opinion of the Governor in Council, adversely affects or would adversely affect the national interest, the Governor in Council may during that time make an order deferring the strike or lockout during the period commencing on the day the order is made and ending on the twenty-first day following the date fixed for the return of the writs.

Minister’s report

(2) Where the Governor in Council makes an order pursuant to subsection (1) during the time mentioned in that subsection, the Minister shall, on any of the first ten sitting days of the first session of Parliament next following that time, lay before Parliament a report stating the reasons for the making of the order.

1972, c. 18, s. 1; 1984, c. 39, s. 33.

So… the answer is maybe? I’m not a lawyer but It looks like the government can prevent a strike during an election, but they don’t have to.
Candidates and Nomination Meetings
At both the provincial and federal levels the parties are lining up their candidates and nomination meetings are being held.
On the provincial level an election is possible as early as the fall, though more likely in the new year around the four year mark for the life of the current legislature. The Wildrose Alliance has been busy nominating candidates for a while now and currently have a large lead over the other parties in terms of nominated candidates. The PCs have also recently started nominating their candidates and while they still have nowhere near as many nominated candidates as the Wildrose Alliance this will likely quickly change, and they clearly have a commanding lead in terms of identified candidates given the number of incumbents they have. The Alberta NDP and Liberals also have also nominated and identified several candidates.
In Alberta on the federal level the Conservatives have all of their candidates lined up. The NDP has identified all their candidates and have a number of nomination meetings coming up in the near future to formalize candidates, including one in Edmonton-Sherwood Park tomorrow. I have no idea how many candidates the Liberals have ready to go. There will also be at least one serious independent candidate in Alberta with James Ford, who came close to capturing Edmonton-Sherwood Park in 2008 having announced his candidacy in the next federal election.