Cross Country Checkup·Ask Me Anything

CBC's Rosemary Barton answers your questions about the upcoming federal election

As schools reopen and people return to regular work schedules, questions about the campaign and candidates are gearing up. Rosemary Barton joined guest host David Common to answer callers' questions about the 44th general election.

Host of Rosemary Barton Live took calls as part of Checkup's Ask Me Anything series

Voters enter the polling station at a school during election day in Toronto in October 2019. With only two weeks until the next federal election, voters are becoming engaged in the campaign. (Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press)

For many Canadians enjoying the last days of summer, the election has been on the backburner. 

But as schools reopen and people return to regular work schedules, questions about the campaign and candidates are gearing up.

"I think this week is going to be a big one because people will sort of re-engage with their regular pace of life, and also because we've got two big debates this week," said CBC's Rosemary Barton.

As part of Cross Country Checkup's regular Ask Me Anything series, Barton joined guest host David Common to answer callers' questions about the 44th general election.

Will we get results on election night?

With different ways to cast a ballot beyond heading to the poll on Sept. 20, Pete Foley in St. John's asked whether Canadians could see a delay in the results past election day.

According to Barton, it's a possibility.

"Elections Canada has said if you want to get a special voting kit — a mail-in ballot — you can do that," she said, noting that according to the agency nearly half-a-million voters have requested mail-in ballots.

CBC's Rosemary Barton took calls about the election from Cross Country Checkup listeners. (Evan Mitsui/CBC News)

Elections Canada said in August that it was prepared for a spike in mail-in ballots — up to five million, compared to 50,000 in 2019 — for this pandemic-time election. 

A delay in the results could hinge on how many mail-in ballots are received by Elections Canada and how close the results are on election night, Barton said.

The host of Rosemary Barton Live says she is already prepared for any possibility on election night.

"I'm not going to leave Toronto until we get a result," she told Common. "I have not booked my return flight yet if that gives you any idea of where my head is at.

"I suspect it won't happen, but I am prepared for the possibility that it could."

What about proportional representation?

Tim Medcalf in Bruce County, Ont., called in to ask why there has been no discussion of proportional representation during this election campaign.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on ending the current first-past-the-post electoral system, but his government abandoned the idea in 2017

Proportional representation is a system that provides electors two votes: one for their local candidate and the other for the party of their choice. Local candidates would be chosen as they are now, but the vote for the party would be used to top up representation in the House. This would align the seat count more accurately to the popular vote.

"This is an NDP dream, a Green [Party] dream and any sort of more marginal party's hope that proportional representation would allow them to better reflect where the Canadian population is," said Barton.

WATCH: Elections Canada has suspended its successful Vote on Campus program

Vote on Campus program suspended at colleges and universities

1 month ago
2:02
Elections Canada has suspended its successful Vote on Campus program at post-secondary institutions for the federal election because of the pandemic, leaving many young voters unsure of where and how to cast their vote when away from home. 2:02

But for parties with strong support, like the Liberals and Conservatives, changing the electoral system is a less appealing prospect.

"The reality is that first past the post is beneficial to two strong, traditional parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives," she said. 

"So it seems unlikely that it will change, purely because their political fortunes are tied to the system we have."


Written by Jason Vermes with files from CBC News. Produced by Steve Howard.

You can hear the full Ask Me Anything with Rosemary Barton on CBC Listen.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now