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Plenty of parties to choose from in this election

So we’re headed to the polls on September 20 for a federal election.

Except we may not be headed to the polls. We may be voting online or by mail in larger numbers than ever seen before, as people across the country cope with a pandemic election.

The good news for those of us in the two ridings in the Prince George area is that we are very unlikely to have a list of candidates which is the theoretical maximum.

Can you imagine a ballot with 22 candidates representing various parties plus any independents who fancied their chances? As of Monday, the Elections Canada website listed 19 registered political parties as well as three defined as eligible political parties.

I said earlier we were unlikely to have a slate with all of the registered and eligible parties because, quite frankly, I don’t think the Bloc Quebecois is going to run candidates out here.

We are most likely to see the usual suspects: Conservative, Green, Liberal and New Democrat. We have, in past elections, seen other parties show up on the ballot in one or both ridings, such as Libertarian, Christian Heritage and People’s Party of Canada.

I do not remember candidates from the Animal Protection Party, Canada’s Fourth Front, Canadian Nationalist Party, Communist Party, Free Party of Canada, Marijuana Party, Marxist-Leninist Party, National Citizens Alliance, Parti pour l’independence de Quebec, Rhinoceros Party, Veterans Coalition party (all of which are registered parties), Centrist Party, Maverick Party or Parti Patriote (which are three eligible parties).

You may be wondering, as I was, what makes a party ‘eligible’. Apparently, they’ve met certain guidelines, but have not yet registered. Trying to work through the Election Act can be trying, especially on a Monday.

One thing that was disappointing as I wandered around sites on Monday was that I was unable to find the standard list of important dates for the election. You know the stuff like when the advance polls were, the cutoff dates for candidates to enter the race, the date when the official list of nominees is released. Those last two are not necessarily the same since there have been occasions when a candidate has declared they are running, only for Elections Canada (or sometimes their party) to turn around and say, “No, you aren’t”.

The good news for us in Canada? Unlike the United States elections, which basically start the day after the previous election, we in Canada have a much shorter period of time to dread the political ads and rhetoric.

That said, however, remember to take the time to study the issues and the local candidates and vote, one way or another (but only one way!) for September 20.

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