Today, Canadians go to the polls and elect our next government. For those of you who are not Canadian – all one of you – here’s a crash course in Canadian politics.
The Canadian Election was called on August 2nd, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper dropped the writ. I kid you not, we call elections in Canada with what sounds like an old-fashioned mic drop. He set our election date for October 19th. Canada does not have set election dates although we do have laws that govern both how short and how long the country can go without calling an election.
Canadian law also dictates that no election should be shorter than 36 days. This is a fairly new law – mid-60s, I believe – so we do have elections that have been shorter than that. Our shortest campaign period was 12 days (but this was prior to one day voting so the election wasn't actually that short). Generally, most elections since the law passed have clocked in at around 40 days and change. At 78 days, this is our longest election ever.
Canada has multiple parties and each party has a leader, even when they’re not the party in power. Canada uses a First Past the Post voting system and the party with the most seats forms the government. If they win at least 170 seats, they form a majority government and can pretty much rule as they please. If they win less than that, they form a minority government and will have to do more wheeling and dealing to get bills passed.
The other parties that won at least one seat form the opposition, with the largest of those parties being called the Official Opposition. Meh, they’re the first losers so we’ll give them a fancy title to soften the blow.
I used to follow a rule of limiting my political talk on Facebook (or any social media, really). When elections rolled around – federal, provincial, or municipal – I’d encourage people to vote and leave it at that. I’d share the occasional story that interested me but I didn’t really get into my personal politics.
That changed this time around because I hate Stephen Harper. Not dislike. HATE.
And I want everyone to know it.
I want them to know that in 8 years, we have not had a balanced budget and despite all the Conservatives claims to the opposite, our 2015 budget also won't be balanced.
I want them to know that Canada is the only G7 country currently in a recession. Even though Harper continues to claim that it's a global recession, it is not.
I want them to know that under Bill C-51 being arrested at a peaceful protest could be deemed a terrorist act by the government. The language is vague on purpose because that's the way the Harper government wants it.
I want them to know that under Bill C-24, if convicted of terrorism or other serious specific serious crimes, Canadian immigrants who have received Canadian citizenship or people born in Canada who are eligible for dual citizenship can be stripped of their citizenship.
I want them to know that Harper claims his government's attempts to outlaw the niqab at a citizenship ceremonies is about the rights of women but this same government says that the 1200 indigenous women that have have gone missing or have been murdered since 1980 are not worth an inquiry.
I could go on and on, but mostly I want them to know that this man and his government do not represent the Canada I want to live in.*
Because I don't want to end this post on a downer, here's a clip of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight:
Here’s hoping that tomorrow, Canada wakes up to a government that looks much different than our current one.
*All these facts can be found in an easy Google search. Sorry, too lazy to do it myself right now. There are election results to watch!