WE HAVE AN ELECTION, TOO
Yawn! Don't get too excited you might miss it.
After meeting with the heads of the opposition party heads and accusing them of not cooperating in making the Conservative Party's government to work, Stephen Harper seem to be determined to go to the the Governor General, The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean and ask that parliament be dissolved. The sure sign that there will be an election very soon is that members of the Conservative government are running around handing out money to worthy causes. The date of the federal election is to be October 14.
I am struck by how different a Canadian election is compared with American one.
1. It is begun and over with in about a month. Party conventions, at other times, elect their leaders. These conventions use to try to imitate the hoopla of our American cousins. Now parties members can vote on line., so the convention is a shadow of it's former self. We know who the leader of each party is. We know them from how they functioned in parliament. Technically we do not vote for the leader, only our local member who represents a party.
2. We have five parties with a chance to seat members in parliament. Conservatives are "conservative" weak imitations of American Conservatives. Liberals are moderates, not extremists as our southern cousins view them. New Democrats are mild mannered socialists. The Greens are relatively new and hard to categorize although best thought of as progressives with a strong concern for the environment. A recent poll indicated both Canadian Conservatives and Liberals would vote for Obama to lead their party. (Canadian political center is to the left of the American one)
3. You will not see much or hear much about leader's spouses.
4. A person's religion (or lack of religion) is not a subject for discussion for his qualifications to be a parliamentarian.
5. The sexual preference of candidates for riding seats will not be mentioned. It is a non issue that some are openly gay and even partners in a gay marriage. "The government has no business in the bedrooms of the Nation." (Pierre Elliot Trudeau)
6. People's loyalty to Canada is assumed and never challenged or ridiculed.
7. Parties are largely funded by the government. Individuals can contribute but Corporations cannot make large donations.
8. Broadcasting networks must supply air time in prime time at the lowest possible commercial cost for ad space for all parties.
9. There are limits to the amount of money parties can spend.
10. We have not fancy voting machines. Just a little butt of a pencil to make an X in the circle opposite the candidates name.
11. The government maintains the voter's list. Up to the last minute you can get on the list (if you have been accidentally left off) just by swearing you are who you say you are and live where you say you do. You need one other neighbour to confirm this.
These are just some of the difference I can think of off the top of my head. We are a different Society that our American neighbours.
I have always voted for the New Democratic candidate in our riding. I am tempted this time to vote for the Green party to help focus attention on the environment.
The Conservatives have engineered the election in the hope of improving their standing before the economy gets any worse. They would like to form a majority government but from what I read there is likely to be another minority government. The Liberals also have a chance to form the government. It would be nice if the Conservatives were defeated as they are very weak on the environment, Stephen Harper our esteemed Prime Minister, seems to need to consult George Bush on every issue to follow his lead. Our government can be so much better than "Bush light". The Conservative government just cut funding for culture and the arts. For this alone they deserve to by turfed out.
In a month, we will know the result and then we can get back to watching the US melodrama.