I’m not here to debate whether or not the election was a waste of time or money.
On one hand, virtually nothing changed from a national perspective and some argue it shouldn’t have been done while the pandemic is still going on. On the other hand, elections are a necessary power-balancing tool and a solid barometer of how Canadians feel about their government and the results simply reflect that.
As of publication, Elections Canada estimated the 2021 federal election has an $610-million price tag. Whether or not that’s a waste I will leave up to you. For now, a question arises that I’ve been dying to answer – if the money wasn’t spent on the election, what could it have bought instead?
Some of us have, by one means or another, been granted a windfall of money in our time. Naturally, if given a sizeable wad of cash, a majority of us would pay off our debts and maybe spend some money on the more frivolous luxuries of life. $610 million is more than enough to buy everyone in Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and the District of Kent a $65,000 Tesla Model 3 – including those who can’t even drive yet – and still have $68,120,000 to spare.
With that remaining money, you could supply the district and village populations with enough Big Mac value meals to last them from the publication date until the middle of next July, assuming they would be eating it three times a day. I don’t recommend this approach for several reasons, not the least of which is it may lead to an average weight gain liberally estimated at three pounds per week, adding just over 1 million pounds to the collective population. I’m no physicist, but I would wager it’s not enough to sink us closer to sea level, but do we really want to see that irrational fear become manifest?
The most valuable comic book in the world is Action Comics #1, the debut of one of my favourite superheroes, Superman. This comic sold for about $4.1 million CAD in early April, and there are currently an estimated 100 copies still in existence today. It would take about $410 million to acquire all of them, assuming near-identical price. With the remaining $200 million, based on average Cineplex prices, we could bring treat the entire population of every province except Ontario and Quebec (nothing personal, lads) to the movies and still have change to spare.
On a more serious note, I posed the question to the readers to see what you all would do with the money if you suddenly had $610 million in the bank. Many of you said you would spend it on providing clean water to First Nations communities in need. Though the election funds would not have solved the ongoing issues across Canada, it certainly would’ve made a sizeable dent in the bill to provide necessary clean water for all.
The 2021 PNE grand prize package was worth $1.8 million. The election could’ve paid for the gorgeous luxury home in greater Vancouver about 338 times over with plenty of pocket change to spare. How many more affordable homes could we then afford for our senior and homeless populations?
It’s encouraged, necessary and virtuous to give freely of our own wealth for the betterment of our little corner of the earth. A majority of us will only ever control our own wealth and have no direct decision-making power when it comes to putting our tax dollars to work. With that being said, though, I would encourage you not only to donate freely to any cause you see fit if you can afford it but to be in touch with your local, provincial and even federal government representatives and hold them to account in whatever role they hold in distributing government wealth.
I’m not so naive as to promise we’ll always or even often get what we want out of our political representation and their influence on tax money. Deciding how to spend money is never simple, and it’s even more complex on the political stage.
What I will say is no matter how small the donation, how short the note to your representatives or how small the part you think you play is, there’s no end to what we could accomplish if we all band together for a good cause.
Be a good steward of your money, your voice and your vote, and the world will thank you for it.