Sunday, September 07, 2008

And the race is on

So, this morning Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada will be having a federal election on October 14th. This amuses me, because that means that we Canadians will have an entire election campaign and decide on a Prime Minister over the course of six and a half weeks, and it will be all over a full three weeks before the American election.

(Of course, the Canadian political parties have leaders, who are the ones who run for Prime Minister, and they choose their leaders at entirely different times. But it's still hilarious to me that we're having an election right in the middle of everything.)


The History Enthusiast said...

So in Canada you don't have a set election schedule? The PM decides when one is needed? I'm not well versed in Canadian politics, I'm afraid.

But, I am so envious that you all don't have the media circus that we have down here.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

We don't have a set election day. I'd need a political scientist (Meg?) to explain our system properly, but here goes: Traditionally, it's about 4-5 years between elections. However, they can be closer together if the Prime Minister (and technically the Governor General) call an election, and also we have to go to an election if the party in power gets a "vote of non-confidence", meaning that Parliament votes down something important (like a budget) passed by the ruling party.

We vote for specific Members of Parliament and for their party instead of for a leader, and then the party that gets the most members into Parliament gets to have their leader as Prime Minister. So, the goal is to have a majority government (where you have more members in parliament than all the other parties combined), because then you can pass bills and everything without the risk of getting a vote of non confidence. When we have a minority government, parties have to work together more or else it's unstable.

It's not perfect (your party can have the most votes but still lose because you didn't get the most MPs; I'd love to have some sort of proportional representation), but I like our elections.

Teacher Lady said...

The thing that bugs me about the US is it seems that gov't doesn't seem to get any work done for nearly two years. Maybe we just don't hear about it.

C said...

we were supposed to have our bi-election this morning, you think harper could have gone to the gov gen a little sooner, half the people i know have already voted because they were going to be out of town today! my mom's friend is going to have to vote all over again, but this time from australia!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Woah woah woah, C: I just heard in the news that Tom King is running for the NDP in your constituency. Of the Dead Dog Cafe? Dude!

C said...

yup! tom king of the dead dog cafe! he lives a few blocks from my parents and teaches english at the uofg. we had "jasper friendlybear" stay here at the b&b once, my mom was so excited!