Canada's having an election in May!
For my non-Canadian friends out there, I thought I'd put together a little rundown of the Canadian electoral process. So, to begin, Canada (like the United Kingdom) is a Constitutional Monarch. The Queen is the official leader of Canada, but she is represented by the Governor General and Parliament; the Queen rules, but does not govern.
is made of up two parts; the Senate, which is comprised of 105 people appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and The House of Commons, comprised of 308 people who are voted in by Canadian Citizens.
In the United States, there are three political parties; the Democratic, Republican, and Independent. In Canada, we have way more. There are basically five leading Parties that are considered the ones people care about.
The Liberal Party
The Conservative Party
The New Democratic Party
The Green Party
and also, within the province of Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois Party
These Parties are the big guys, but even within that contingency the only Parties that ever get elected to run these days are the Liberal and Conservative Parties. They have the most financial and vocal support from outside sources, and they've been around for a long time.
But there are other Parties, and here are a few that I find striking:
Communist Party of Canada
Yes, really; those are actually on the ballot.
So, the Government:
Canada is divided into geographically based electoral districts or ridings (also called constituencies). Voters in each district elect a single representative, who is authorized to represent them in their legislature.
During a general election, elections are held simultaneously in each electoral district. The outcome of those district elections, in turn, determines who will form the government. Which party forms the government upon the outcome of an election depends on how well these political parties fare across all of the electoral districts. Generally in Canada, the political party that elects the most number of representatives forms the government. Typically, the leading party forms either a majority or minority government.
Majority and minority governments? What the fuck are those?
Great question! Majority means that a political party received the majority of votes in electoral districts and therefore seats in Parliament. Minority means that the political party with the leading number of votes is elected, but because they did not receive enough votes to warrant a majority leadership they must run all decisions by the other party representatives in the House of Commons.
In the US, an election happens every four years (with midterms in between), but in Canada an election can be called at virtually any time. Up until two days ago, Canada was governed by the Conservative Party, but they were dissolved by the combined efforts of the constituents in the House of Commons. Essentially, the Conservative Party was deemed unfit for leadership by the other parties, so the other parties formed a coalition to dissolve the government and call for an election.
Stephen Harper was our Prime Minister, and he was a social conservative. To put it mildly (I'm Canadian, so I'm polite XD), I'm not a fan. So I don't mind, at this point, which Party wins in the election as long as we get rid of the conservatives. They're basically the Canadian version of the Republican Party, so I never see eye-to-eye with their political and social views and efforts. Luckily, Harper was so disliked by the other political parties that he has been booted out.
Basically, Canada doesn't have an official government or Prime Minister right now. Campaigning has started, which means that political parties can begin to get the word out about the constituents in each district, by traveling around and speaking to the people, by putting up signs and running ads on television. There will be a debate between the leaders of the main, registered parties on television in the coming weeks, where the leaders of each party have a chance to answer questions and call each other out. They're so much fun to watch.
Unfortunately, we're also treated to attack ads on television. They make me so angry I have to mute the television every time. I hate that shit! I don't need you you to skew the facts so you can cast a party in a negative light; I'm informed enough to know what I want in a political party, so all you need to do is describe your policies, and what you endeavor to do if you're elected, in a transparent, honest manner, and then I'll decide for myself if I think you're suitable. Quit it with the manipulation!
So Canada's having an election in May. The Conservative government is out, and I am so fucking relieved. The Conservative Party was both subtly and overtly anti-woman, anti-LGBT, anti-environment, and their financial endeavours were nonsensical and shameful. They had to go, and I'm so glad Parliament saw that as well.
Politics YAY! So exciting!
(If you have any questions, feel free to ask!)