Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quick Primer on the Current Canadian Political System

A cool woman with a very popular blog decided to link to my piece on Heather Mallick's recent hateful diatribe. This has caused a lot of cross posting to her many readers, most of whom I assume to be American. I decided to bring them up to speed with what's going on politically up here and thought it worthwhile to repost some of what I wrote there.
Canada has a left-right divide similar to the U.S. but is shifted about 30% to the left of America politically.

Both countries have political divides along urban/rural lines. The Conservatives have a lock on most every rural riding in the 5 Western provinces (B.C. to Ontario). The 4 Maritime provinces are a little different and Quebec is its own strange bird. But in the 3 biggest cities - Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver - the Conservatives have almost no MPs.

Why? There are several reasons:

  1. We've had massive immigration in the past few decades. Most of these people have moved to the large cities. The Liberals have done a good job at convincing many newcomers that voting for them is the ONLY option. If you believe I'm making that up then I will introduce you to Asian and South Asian friends of mine and let them explain it to you. IMHO if people are dumb enough to blindly follow such advice then so be it.

  2. The bigger cities in Canada generally have a large percentage of people who will only ever vote for the Liberal and NDP parties. Most of my friends across the country fall into this country, so I understand their mindset very well. Some think that the Conservative leader, Stephen Harper, is "scary". Some believe he will take away abortion rights of women. Others just feel that voting left puts them "on the side of angels". I disagree on all of these fronts, of course, but most such Canadians don't want to listen to a reasoned argument. And in the end equation, each person is free to vote however they want.

  3. The mainstream media has been highly effective in shaping the minds of the masses (read "sheep") toward their own liberal mindset. CBC, which is our public broadcaster, is the most biased of all (I think you actually have to prove you deeply hate Americans in order to work there!). But other media outlets have different degrees of a left-wing bias too.
Since October 2004 Canadian politicians have been in a stalemate of sorts with a division of votes across 4 different political parties. This is mostly due to the existence of the Bloc Québécois, a Quebec separation party. It has prevented any one party from getting a clear majority. As such, being in a minority situation, the ruling party has to make significant compromises on most every piece of legislation in order to get enough opposition members to support it. Some suggest that this "improves all legislation". I disagree. Just like a committee is well known to make poor decisions, often based on politically correctness, so does legislation get watered down in a minority government.

An election was called on September 7th, to be held on October 14th. The results of this election will determine who forms the government in the 40th Parliament of Canada.

As we're so early into this election it is not yet certain whether the [Sarah] "Palin Effect" will influence Canadians. Clearly I hope it will help give the Conservatives a majority government!


nachtwache said...

So many people I know, think the same as you've described, Harper is scary, the liberals are best, etc. Maybe the silent majority is conservative, because I don't hear many others speak up and support Harper.

Pelalusa said...

Prior to the past federal election I had a 45 year old professional woman say the following to me: "If Harper gets elected, I'll lose all rights to my body."

What's the point of spending anytime arguing with someone like that? Fact is, with her that was the final straw for me.

pcbedamned said...

And if Dion gets elected, I'll lose all rights to my money!!!
Another Proud Conservative Canadian