Monday, September 29, 2008
...there's a federal election coming. A side effect of having a minority government with no real opposition - they might as well call an election, with the best case scenario (for the government, not necessarily for Canada) being a majority victory, and the worst case scenario being another couple of years added on to the current term. It's not like anyone else is likely to win.
As I understand it, the parties can be described pretty much like this:
1) Conservative. Mostly blue. Used to be called Progressive Conservatives until they were slaughtered in a previous election, merged with the Reform Party (a bunch of ultra-conservatives from out west) and changed their name. Also, they weren't really fooling anyone with the "Progressive" tag anyway. Currently in power. Policy seems to be somewhat lacking. Led by a not-so-very-charismatic Prime Minister who is now best known for wearing a friendly, homey sweater vest in his TV commercial.
2) Liberal. A cheerful shade of red. Slightly less conservative than the Conservatives. Roundly slaughtered last time around by a combination of the Conservatives and the NDP (see below). Now led by some guy who a) is widely seen as an intellectual egghead, b) at the last leadership convention defeated another guy who is also widely seen as an intellectual egghead, and c) allegedly sounds like the Swedish Chef when he speaks English quickly. Absolutely no clear policy on anything, as far as I can tell.
3) New Democratic Party. Orange. Not new, not democratic. Occasionally described as pinko commies, by people just slightly less charitable than me. Led by a guy who is famous for living in community housing while in office as a highly-paid municipal politician. Platform based around a complex mix of carbon credits, expensive social programs, and national bankruptcy.
4) Bloc Quebecois. Kind of dark blue with white fleur-de-lis on it, or something. Nobody outside of La Belle Province cares, but that didn't stop them from getting enough seats in recent memory to form the official opposition. Led by some French-Canadian guy. Platform is based on separation from English Canada, determined defence of the French language and culture (France could probably learn something from this), and not a whole lot else.
5) Green Party. Green; somewhat fuzzy around the edges. Running in every single bloody riding in the country; unlikely to win any of them. Led by some person or other who talks a lot about the environment and rides around the country on a train, or a bicycle, or a hang-glider, or something.
And not to forget:
6) The usual grab-bag of independents, party dissenters, embezzling, criticizing and/or adultering ex-government ministers who've been booted out of caucus, street musicians, ex-hockey players (don't laugh, there are at least two in the Senate) and the like.
Now you know everything you need to. October 14th - go out and vote.*
*This public service announcement may not actually be very useful for anything. You've been warned.