Monday, November 3, 2008

Election 2008: Stop British Imperialism!

Everyone one over the age of 18 pumped up and ready to vote tomorrow?  An over-achiever in all aspects of my world, I already voted.  It was very exciting: I had to drop my ballot request off at the US Embassy (no party invites from the Ambassador, sadly) and I dropped off my completed ballot at the Embassy too.  

If you have voting paperwork, the Embassy will mail it to where it needs to go and you don't need to buy a stamp!  Woo-hoo!  That saved me 1.28 Canadian dollars!  Yes!  That's like three zucchini (from the farmers at the outdoor Byward Market).

As you may or may not know, the US isn't the only country with a big 2008 election.  Canada also had a major election a couple weeks ago.  The prime minister was up for re-election, as were many parliamentary seats.  The prime minister can be elected as many times as he can get himself (or herself) elected.  I believe Mackenzie King was the longest 'reigning' prime minister - Wikipedia just confirmed this as true - 21 years, abet nonconsecutive years.  The Canucks tell me that the prime minister calls when the elections will occur, usually every three to five years.  Elections can apparently also be forced upon the Canadians - I'm not exactly sure how, but it's something like if they can't get a balanced budget, they're forced to have an election.

Look at one of our snazzy graphics.  Canada didn't have anything like this.  They just stick red maple leaves on everything.  American companies use their American logo with a little red maple leaf someplace to make it 'Canadian,' like that's fooling anyone.

So, using the same logic, the stars in this logo could be made into maple leaves, thusly transforming this American election graphic into a Canadian election graphic.

Canada is not a two-party country.  It seems that there are a billion political parties.  This makes debates very exciting and much more crazy.  Especially since they have separate English and French debates.  

I've collected the graphics for the larger parties (the ones that registered in my American brain).

My favorite Canadian party is Bloc Quebecois.  Their Ultimate Goal is Quebec's complete independence from Canada, and all of their actions relate back to this one Ultimate Goal.

When I was in Montreal on Saturday, I saw some guy in the street handing out pamphlets, a big poster behind him saying, "Stop British Imperialism!"  

Anyway, as the only American in the International House of Pancakes in which I live, I get to hear lots of interesting observation about the American election.  Nobody understands why Americans get so interested in a candidate's personal life and background... they didn't understand why it is so important to us to know that Sarah Palin played basketball in high school.  They ask me, and my response is, "This is really important!  I MUST WATCH!"

The Hungarians always have some fantastic remarks: their childhood stories always something like, "When I was little, in Communist Hungary, there was one movie theater, and it was full of rats, so you had to hold your feet up the whole time you watched the movie.  And then when part of the ceiling fell down, they closed the theater, so then I did not watch a movie in the cinema for 12 years, until the Communists were no longer in power."  (This is a true Childhood Story from one of them.  Despite how fanciful it is, I did not make it up).

Canada is more excited about our election than they were about their own.  Obama and McCain are all over the news - print and electronic.  A US presidential debate was televised the same time as a Canadian prime minister debate: all the Canadians watched the US debate.  I am constantly getting lectures about who I should vote for and getting quizzed about who I think will win.

As for the Canadian election, not much has changed.  Stephen Harper is still the Prime Minister, the conservatives still hold the most seats/offices.  One of my Canadian housemates put it this way, "We just spent 5 hundred billion dollars to have an election and nothing has changed."


Lea said...

Excellent political reporting. It was so fun to vote today!!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your detailed account of Canadian politics. I too proudly cast my vote today. Sorry you had no party invitations from the Ambassador.