This is my first Canadian national election. I watched as our current prime minister, Mr. Harper, “asked” the Governor General (our representative for the Queen) to dissolve parliament, thus creating an election. The date is set for six weeks away, the day after (our) Thanksgiving, October 14th. I have to say, it’s nice that this is short and sweet. My experience with elections thus far has always been in the States. Even though I could not participate by voting, the process occupies months down there, and most people were quite tired of the process every four years.
The last time I was in this country when this happened was in 1979, when Pierre Trudeau was defeated as prime minister. I remember that I would have voted Conservative at the time, if I’d been old enough: because I thought Mr. Trudeau had been in there long enough, and it was time to change. This was popular opinion at the time, and worked: Joe Clark was leader of the country for a year. Ahem. I believe now that it was a mistake. I look a little more intensely at the issues at this point, not just on how we “feel” about our leaders.
We have a variety of parties: three major ones since I was a kid, and a bunch of others. We are currently in a minority government situation, and most of us like that. The Conservatives hold less than half the ridings, but more than anyone else. This means that the other parties could have voted together to prevent anything really outlandish, but the Conservatives could still get most things done that they’ve wanted.
I’ll be honest: I know much more about American politics than Canadian. This is a time to learn (like cramming for a quiz: but I was good at that). First step: I took the CBC’s quiz on the positions of the leaders on the issues. I really don’t know too much about them, and I was quite unfamiliar with the ways that issues were phrased (context, after all, is important). Nonetheless, I was not surprised with the ways things came out. Apparently I agree with the NDP on all 12 quizzed issues; with the liberals on 10. I was a bit surprised that I agreed with the Bloc Quebecois on over half. I was not surprised to find that I agreed with the Conservative viewpoint only a third of the time.
I will be looking at more Canadian issues over the next few weeks. I hope this will be interesting; I hope people will engage the discussion. I realize that most of my regular readers are Americans. I hope you can consider it something of a way to learn about other nations in the world, and at the same time perhaps a bit about yourselves.
This post was originally published on Gather.com, and is reproduced here (primarily to try to keep my writing in one spot).