|Mr. Stephen Harper|
I don’t know how many of you know, but in just over a month’s time, Canada is having a federal election. AGAIN. This is the 4th one in 7 years. Ridiculous, I know. But what gets me is that I am relatively sure the whole country knows who is going to win. Just like in the last election. It will be Stephen Harper, our current prime minister. He and his Conservative party (like a more liberal version (a lot more) of the American’s republicans and a bit more to the right than Obama’s democrats), have been ruling this country with a minority government since 2006. And after the election on May 2nd, it will be the same. Some seats might have shifted here and there and it might be a larger minority, but still not a majority.
Why, you may ask, are we having another election? Because recently, a House of Commons committee has found the Harper Government (he actually changed the name on official documents from “Government of Canada” to “Harper Government”) in contempt of parliament, because they had withheld documents on various subjects such budget spending and taxes. This is the first time that any one in the British Commonwealth (which we are apart of) has been found guilty of such a thing. And that triggered an election.
|Liberal Leader Iggy|
My frustration stems from the fact that I feel like we just went through the same old stuff. The Conservatives has been airing attack ads on television for months, before there was even any official talk of an election. Their target has been the Liberal party (see below) leader, Michael Ignatieff. Their amo? He spent the last 10 or so years in the States, being an academic and teaching at Harvard, apparently only coming back to be prime minister. It actually makes for execellent ads, with the tagline, “He didn’t come back for you!” While Iggy was popular upon his return to Canada, he soon fell out of favour. Which really leaves Harper as the only one to run the country because he’s done it before and he’s the only one we can picture on a world scale.
This election is going to be the last for many. Iggy will probably get replaced, and Harper might not run next time. The leader of the NDP (more info below), is really sick and the Quebec leader has been head of his party since 1997 and will probably stay there for awhile. So while this election may bring issues such as healthcare and education to much needed debate and attention, we all know what the outcome will be because there really aren’t that many options. Hopefully next time there will be some fresh new faces and ideas that will really get the country excited.
I know some of you may not be well versed in Canadian politics, so here’s just a bit of basic info:
|Ridings in Greater Toronto Area, for example|
- We are a constitutional monarchy, with the Queen (the British one), being our head of state.
- The Prime Minister is our head of government and the Governor General is the Queen’s representative
- We are divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories
- Our electoral system is nothing like in the States (I still don’t understand it and I’ve read both constitutions). The country is divided into ridings, like little sectors, and within each riding there are parties with candidates running for office. The ridings are the same both provincially and federally.
- The size of the riding is based upon population
- The party with most seats is the “ruling” party, if you will, and their leader becomes the Prime Minister. The party with the second highest number becomes the opposition. A majority means they have the majority of seats. A minority means they have more seats than the other parties, but the combined seats of the opposition and other parties is greater than the ruling party.
Now I know Canadian politics may not be your thing, but I hope you learned a little something something about it 🙂