Fixing What Ain't Broke: The New Norm of Fixed Date Elections in Canada

Griffyn Geoffrey Chezenko


Since 2001, legislation implementing fixed dates for general elections has been passed by the federal government, and most provincial and territorial governments. The notion that general election dates are now fixed, however, is flawed. In my submission to Changing Political Landscapes, I will explore the fledgling norm of fixed date elections in Canada and examine the aspects of the legislation which call into doubt the fixedness of these elections. With a review of the literature on the subject, I begin by inquiring into the emergence of this foreign phenomenon into Canadian electoral politics and the justification for its extensive adoption. Comparing the legislation across jurisdictions, I analyze the basic construct of fixed date election legislation in Canada, survey similarities and differences, and discover how fixed dates for elections are ultimately avoidable. As a result, I find that election dates are not truly fixed in Canadian jurisdictions where fixed date election legislation has been enacted.


election law; provincial elections; federal elections; time; voting; Canada

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