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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Election Day

These bright yellow signs popped up all over the country yesterday directing voters to local polling places for the national election. About 60% of registered voters voted and brought in a Conservative Party majority. For those not familiar with Canadian politics we currently have three major political parties: the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP (New Democratic Party). Insofar as I understand our political system we must have national elections at least once every four years. However, in cases where the government must call or wishes to call an election earlier they may do so at any time, so our elections do not fall on regular dates like the USA. (Canadians will please correct me if I am wrong about any of this information.) The Prime Minister is not elected independently as in American presidential elections but is elected like any other member of parliament to represent a particular electoral district. He or she becomes Prime Minister by virtue of being the leader of the political party that wins a simple majority of parliamentary seats. More information about the Canadian electoral process can be found on Wikipedia by clicking HERE.


Dean Lewis said...

The past seven years saw three federal elections owing to minority governments with the Conservatives having less than half the total number of seats.
A budget defeated, or losing a non-confidence vote in Parliament is cause for calling an election.

Yesterday's election resulted in major 're-sculpting' of the country's political landscape, most notably the collapse of the Liberal Party, falling to third place for the first time in history.
A majority government, which the Conservatives now have can go four to five years before calling an election at their discretion.

Mike Laplante said...

I notice the very neutral tone of your comment, Dean. Reading between the lines of your final comment, do I detect some dismay? ;)

Dean Lewis said...

Good 'read' Mike.
My first inclination posting here was to make reference to the polling sign with the arrow pointing downward as some indication of where things are headed.
I'm thrilled the NDP now has Official Opposition status, but very wary of what a Harper majority will do. He was just on TV, and for the first time I've heard, ominously used the term 'healthcare insurance' instead of the fundamental'healthcare'.

If anyone can stand up for UHC and a single-payer system, it is the NDP.

JoJo said...

I admit your political system confounds me, despite having watched Rick Mercer, 22 Minutes and occasionally Air Farce. Sorry that you all wasted money on another election just to have Stephen Harper voted back in. For what it's worth, I was hoping Jack Layton would win.

Mike Laplante said...

I'm very worried about a Harper majority myself -- and I say this as someone who once voted for him. :(