The Closet Moderate: Election, eh?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election, eh?

So, election day is finally upon us. Not America's election, which will require three more excruciating weeks of campaigning, but that of our northern neighbor, Canada. Today, Canadians will decide whether to retain the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, or to elect a Parliament led by his Liberal and NDP foes.

Earlier, I blogged that it would be interesting to compare Canada's elections with ours. One thing that has already been better is that the whole campaign lasted five weeks. America's 2008 campaign started sometime around Bush's second inauguration. Another interesting thing in Canada: third parties matter. The New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois held, respectively, 9.8% and 15.8% of the seats in the House of Commons (i.e., the House that matters). Even the Greens have a member, kind of.* So, in Canada, Perot could have been elected King. Nader, however, is still irrelevant.

What is hardest for us Yanks is to avoid is turning the Canadian elections into an indication of our own situation. Our economies are similar, and are highly integrated with each other, but they do have their own issues up there. All the hippies who swore they'd move to Canada if Bush won in 2000 (and again in 2004) might be surprised to learn that the Conservative party is the largest in Parliament,** and is expected to remain so.

I was going to suggest you all monitor the results on PBS or C-SPAN, but even those lame networks don't appear to be covering it. So, instead, watch the Red Sox - Rays game, and check this blog occasionally -- if enough people seem interested, I may live-blog it until I fall asleep.

*He was elected as a Liberal and switched parties.
**They hold a plurality of seats, but not a majority.


Closet Canuck said...

Conservatives are actually a minority representation in Canada. They just smartened up and consolidated the separate parties (formerly the Progressive Conservatives, the Reform Party, and the Canadian Alliance). The left-leaning parties (Liberal, NDP, Green) have not. The Bloc is insane and therefore I do not count it.

If we had a form of instant runoff voting (Oh, how I long for this), Conservatives would have a much smaller chunk of the Parliament Pie, and Stephen Harper would be relegated to the back benches where he deserves to be.

Instead we have yet another election in which nothing changes. No wonder Canadians are apathetic.

Silent Cal said...

You're right about the minority government -- I added a footnote to clarify what I meant.

As for combining the leftist parties, I don't think it's as simple as all that. Getting the Reform and PC parties together wasn't exactly easy, and the NDP is, I believe, considerably more leftist than the Liberal party. Besides, even with the lefty vote divided, the Liberals have been in control of the vast majority of Parliaments in recent history.

Fake Steve Hawking said...

I'm surprised that CC didn't mention it, but it is forbidden to have news about the election results on election day before it is over in Canada. So we'll all just have to hold our collective breath.

Silent Cal said...

I remember reading some discussion of how to handle that law on Wikipedia during the last election.,_2006/archive2#Election_night_publication_ban

As I understand it, once all the polls were closed in a given riding [district], that riding's results could be broadcast. In any event, we're not subject to the Queen's laws down here.

Silent Cal said...

Canada has strict laws about announcing results while polls are still open. If we had this system in the U.S., all of the network anchors that called Florida for Gore in 2000 while Floridians were still voting would be liable. In addition, even if the polls have closed, the newscasters can't report that result in another district where the polls are still open. I don't know how this is enforced.

Statler said...

No, I don't crosspost. You've got to come to From the Balcony for your irrelevant baseball thoughts, because nobody here cares.