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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Week On

Well the federal election process has been going on for a week now. Four more weeks to go.

For my American friends let me say we do not vote for Prime Minister, the executive head of our government. For that matter, we do not vote for The Governor General , the ceremonial head of our government (the Queen's stand in). In the American system these two rolls are filled by the President. Our system makes it easier to be critical of the executive branch of government without being accused of being disloyal to the country.

We, in fact vote, for local candidates for seats in parliament. They are party members. The party that "wins" with the most seats is asked to form the government and their party leader becomes the Prime Minister. In reality, we act as if we are electing the Prime Minister. Most of the national attention is focused on the campaign of the heads of the various parties as they "attack"one another and put forward their party's platform of programs they will impliment if victorious.

It has been an interesting week in some ways. The three men who lead the older established parties ganged up on the female head of the new party, the Green Party, and supported the decision to exclude her from the national debate on TV. They goofed on this. Canadian are fairminded and there was public "outrage" (we don't actually get outraged. We are too civil for that.) I even took it upon myself to write the head of my party, Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party, to express my disappointment in him not supporting Elizabeth May of the Green Party. When the dust settled the old boys changed their mind and Elizabeth May will be allowed to participate in the debate. It turns out Stephen Harper, The Conservative Party leader had the biggest objections but he reluctantly agreed so he would not be left alone opposing her inclusion.

Stephen Harper found himself apologizing for a couple of dirty tricks by his election staff.

An ad ran questioning Stephane Dion's leadership qualities as the head of the Liberal Party.

In it a Puffin flew by and pooped on his shoulder. Canadians considered this in bad taste so Harper apologized and altered the ad.

The second goof occured after Harper declare the Canada would end it's involvement in Afghanistan for certain in 2011. The father of a Canadian soldier who died in that conflict spoke critically of this decision saying if Canada pulled out before the job was done his son's death would have been in vain. A Conservative staffer sent out an email to reporters saying the father was a Liberal supporter implying he said what he said for political reason. The effort to discredit the father made it necessary for Harper to once again apologize and force his staffer to personally apologize.

Sorry folks! the is as exciting a Canadian politics gets.

Stephen Harper I find embarassing. he is running an American Republican style campaign. For a week before the election was called he was running ads to illustrate what a wonderful "family values" person he was. Others showed him praising the military and showing him visiting the far reaches of the Arctic as if he was doing something for the environment and national security. What finished him for me was his standing and speaking in front of the Canadian Flag, in the American style. By doing this kind of advertizing Harper is saying he is virtuous and loyal to the country. What he is implying is that he is more of a family man, an admirer of the military, more concerned for security and a more loyal Canadian than the other party leaders. His use of the flag is most offensive. It does not belong to him or the Conservative Party. It is a symbol of all Canadians even those running against him. And of course, each of the other party leaders has a family and has high family values. Conservatives are no more virtuous than any one else. Such distractions are irrelevant as to whether their party programs are worth while.

In our political system every day party leaders put forth a party platform in the hope of gaining some national press for their efforts. This has been going on in a predicatable fashion. Jack Layton with great bravado is saying he expires to become Prime Minister. (The New Democrats have never formed the government by usually getting around 20% of the vote.) He probably can best hope to be the balance of power in a minority government. Stephane Dion, the Liberal Leader is trailing Harper and unless something dramatic happenss, wiil not become Prime Minister but will be the leader of the opposition. Gilles Duceppe, of Le Bloc de Quebecois, is trying to make is case as having a role to play in Quebec as a national defender of the separatist cause which is very quiet these days. Finally, Eliabeth May, who has to get herself elected to parliament so she is spending a lot of time in her riding. She certainly won public support and press over her determination to be included in the national TV debate. I look forward to her fresh voice among the boys.

I don't expect the weeks ahead to get much more exciting. For that I can tune in the US melodrama.


At 12:28 p.m., Blogger Peggy said...

I can't wait for elections to be over. The mud slinging is terrible

At 12:36 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Keep on with the updates. You seem to be my source of news and opinion right now. I recognize your bias but seem to share it, so what the heck. :)

At 7:10 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

What a nice, sane way to do things. We have so much to learn here in the good old U.S.A and I hope it's not too late.

At 11:29 p.m., Blogger Buffalo said...

Our style of contentious campaigns is tiring, but rarely boring.

At 11:40 p.m., Blogger NoirKat said...

Just a small point: not all the leaders objected to May taking part in the debates. Dion had no problem with her inclusion all along, as this article points out.

Since I work for Elections Canada, I miss most of the campaigning and have to rely on blogs and what news I can find time for. Thanks for the summary of this week's events.

At 7:27 a.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

I'm sick to death of the election! I still have two more months of interviews to do. There are three debates scheduled in the next three weeks to handle!


At 11:06 a.m., Blogger possum said...

I must ditto Gretchen - I, too, hate politics! But, I am not sure mankind has anything better to offer...
If you are bored with the political goings on in Canada and can't seem to figure out the Palin problem - try an Alaskan blogger at Not nearly as interesting as THIS blog, no puppies, pigs or pretty scenery, but lots of Palin from an Alaskan's point of view! Quite frankly, it is scary!

At 1:20 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Under our system of government, we the people do not elect the president and vice president. We vote for the name but it is a college of electors who actually cast the ballots that elects the president and vice president. States are allowed a number of electors based on the number of members of congress from that state as well as the two from the Senate. It used to work but the system is so corrupt these days, I don't think it will ever work again.

Al Gore should have been elected but George W. Bush won based on the Elector's vote doted over by the Supreme Court.

I published a post about squirrels and other animals and some of the problems they have. I hope you can take the time to read it. That animals suffer and we do not seem to notice seems so sad. Look at my Dances on Sunshine


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