Thursday, 11 September 2008

Non-poker post: Canadian Politics

So our election is well under way for the next government. For those of you outside the country, what basically happens in Canada is that we vote for a local representative to send to Ottawa. Whichever party ends up with the most reps in Parliament becomes the government and the leader of that party becomes Prime Minister.

Some highlights so far:
  • The Liberal Party is trying to figure out exactly what their Green Shift platform is exactly about. So far it's another tax on gas and diesel to get us to stop driving around. We don't exactly have another way of getting around out here in Western Canada, but hey, the Black $ Hole that is Ottawa knows best, maybe we'll get battery powered super bikes or something. They claim these taxes will be offset by reductions in business and income tax. LOL global warming, Kyoto, et al. I suppose our SUVs are also causing the global warming on Mars? Just my opinion.
  • The Conservative Party is actually going to reduce tax on diesel and jet fuel. Totally opposite of the Green Shift. They say that this will reduce costs on every product that gets shipped (everything) but we'll have to see if this cost reduction is actually passed on to the consumer or if business gobbles it up as profit.
  • The New Democratic Party is still shouting about their pie-in-the-sky utopia and that they are in fact the ones that have been fighting for the environment the longest. The Liberals have basically co-opted every NDP thought worth thinking and the NDP is not doing much besides splitting the left. Not much new there, everyone just tolerates them basically and says "there there."
  • The Green Party, who have never elected a member to Parliament yet, has been shut out of the soon to be televised debates. Debatable. They do have probably ~10% support across the country so maybe their leader should get a spot. The leaders of the other 4 parties have basically hijacked democracy and said they are not showing up if the Greens get a spot in the debate. I say, run the debate, let the Greens in, have 5 podiums and let whoever wants to show up. If there's 4 empty, that's their problem. They seriously can't be afraid of a party that's never won a single seat. Not sure exactly what the Greens are all about except that they are another environmental gung-ho party.
  • For some reason the Bloc is still considered a national party even though they only run in Quebec. For some reason they are also still considered a party instead of traitors to the country. I guess Constitutional over-representation in Parliament is not enough. Oh well. What can you say for Canadian appeasement...
  • Also very hilarious. Background: Last election, the Conservatives promised to start giving out $100 every month to the parents of every child under age 6 with the idea that it be used for childcare. If a parent stayed home, they keep the $100 and do whatever with it. If they go to daycare, they could spend it on that. Free money, well... our tax money given back to us. And they came through and I'm getting a check now for that. But, the Liberals at the time said that the public (us irresponsible parents across Canada) would waste the $100 on "Beer and Popcorn." Wow. Nothing like telling us we can't manage our own money when they blow it on all sorts of useless stuff in Ottawa. Anyways, now the Liberals like the idea so much that they are campaigning saying they will DOUBLE it to $200. Lol Wut? More beer and popcorn in my opinion.
We actually just had legislation passed last year, which was the Prime Minister's idea, that would have set election dates in Canada, similar to the US and was set for October 2009. The idea was that the opposition would still be able to defeat the government and at that point we could have an election outside the legislated time frame, but that the Prime Minister couldn't call snap-elections whenever he felt like he had the advantage.

Well, turns out there's a massive loophole you can drive a campaign bus through. There is no way to write out the Governor General's privilege of disolving parliament. The GG is basically the Queen of England's rep in Canada, a very outdated symbolic position and we pay A LOT of money to keep up this antiquated tradition. We used to have to get the Queen's permission for everything, even after we became a country - no outright revolution here. So yeah, the PM goes and "asks" the GG to disolve Parliament (even though she actually doesn't do anything but spend money on trips around the world and really has no say in anything) whenever he feels like it and then we get to vote. Kind of totally sidesteps his whole idea...

We basically need a rewrite of the Constitution to write out the monarchy et al. But guess what, here comes the Bloc with a long, unreasonable list of demands if we try to do that. It basically consists of "gimmegimmegimmegimee." So it will never happen. Somebody seriously needs to call a whaaambulance for these guys.

So there's 3 leftist parties running on environmental issues, 1 right-wing party that sort of is but in reverse, and the other party is primarly based on the idea of Quebec leaving Canada even though the seperatists aren't really thinking about seperation that much anymore. I have no idea who to vote for. Would be nice if they had a spot added at the bottom of the ballot that said "none of the above" and counted these. I wonder if we'd have increased voter turnout? There's a few fringe parties out there as well such as the Canadian Action Party, Communist Party of Canada, and the Christian Heritage Party. I would prefer not to vote for any of these clowns without spoiling my ballot. A protest vote. That's what I want.

So that's my little politics/history rant for the day. I don't mean to offend anyone out there in my country if you happen to support any of these clowns. Just a little disgusted with the whole system.

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