We have politics in Canada, too!

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sour29
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We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby sour29 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:53 pm

What with all the Barack / Hilary business, it's easy to forget that Canadian's have politicians, too. There's some interesting stuff going on up here, for those who care enough to follow.

Basically, we have five parties in Canadian government. The Conservatives (Canadian version Republicans), Liberals (Candian version of Democrats), New Democratic Pary (quasi-Socialists), Bloc Quebecois (a somewhat liberal Seperatist party, demanding sovereignty for the province of Quebec), and the mostly-laughed-at, although-they-sometimes-have-excellent-ideas Green Party (which is exactly what it sounds like). During our recent election (only some weeks before that in the US), Canadians re-elected a minority Conservative government. That is to say, they earned the most votes, but with less than 50% of the popular vote.

The good thing about a minority government is that if a ruling party wants to pass a law that is outlandish, the other parties combined out number the leading party in voters, and said bill is almost uniformly shot down. The bad thing about a minority government is that without outlandish laws to pass, government officials can't think of anything constructive to do, and nothing ever really gets done.

The INTERESTING thing is that the Liberals, NDP, and the Bloc are signing a coalition, to form a temporary super party, overthrow the conservative government, and basically appoint a member of their super party as our country's prime minister. Obviously, the ramifications of such a move are dangerous and far-reaching. The most important being, of course, that the leader of the country would not be democratically elected, and rather enroled by this awesome amalga-party. If such a precedent is set, it damages the notion of a democratic society; not to mention undermines the chances of survival of any future minority government (at least, any Conservative minority government).

That being said, I'm personally not a fan of the Conservative government, and am optimistically anxious to see what kind of changes we can expect with a socialist/liberal government potentially taking power (if any!). Obviously, I'm a bit worried about how such a maneuver circumvents the democratic act of elections, though (although, numerically speaking, the new coalition government, combined, easily earned the popular vote, they did not earn those votes as a single entity party). Definitely some interesting stuff going up around these parts.

More here: http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Canada/2008/12/01/7598881.html

Anyone have any thoughts? Anyone been following? Anyone want to explain it more eloquently than I?

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chelsea
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby chelsea » Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:09 pm

canada's conservative party = the usa's "gay nader fans for peace" party

is jon stewart right?

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Liesbeth
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby Liesbeth » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:05 am

if coalition governments are undemocratic, good parts of Europe are too.

I think coalition governments are very democratic, since they represent a majority of the voters. The participating parties have to negotiate about the actions they take, but then there's a majority in favour, so something gets done - even if it will be a compromise between different opinions. It also means that smaller parties that may have 'excellent ideas' every now and again can be part of a government. The smaller the party the more they have to compromise and the fewer people they have in the government, but their voice is heard.

The only thing that strikes me in the Canadian goings on is that - in NL at least - generally the biggest party gets the first shot at forming a coalition and will have the prime minister post. So maybe the Conservatives should strike back and try to make friends with one of the other parties, weaning them away from the super party.

I can see it might take some getting used to if you're used to one party governments, but really, once you do you might not believe that a minority of the votes got to rule your country once.

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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby sour29 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:49 am

Liesbeth wrote:if coalition governments are undemocratic, good parts of Europe are too.
Which shows how little I know about European politics!

Otherwise, I mostly agree with your posts -- to an extent. I think the problem with a coalition government is (as I said earlier), although they earned the popular vote, they did not do it as a single unit with a single, cohesive ideology. If they WERE one unit going into the election, would they still have earned as many votes? More? Less? But, in what is a complete oxymoronic statement, I also really like the idea of this particular coalition... How would I feel if it were the other way around, though? Probably quite different, in all honesty.

The Conservatives are very unlikely to make friends with any of the other party's. At least any time soon. They almost proud themselves on being the antithesis of every other party, ever. But you're right -- that's the only way they could ever hope to battle this particular super party. I'm glad that your experience with coalition governments is essentially positive. It gives me more to look forward to.

And no, Chelsea, that wouldn't be the first thing I think of when I try to describe the Canadian Conservatives...

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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby Patr!ck » Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:20 am

On a scale of 1 to 10, what is the possibility of the Canadian government degenerating into a backstabbing bunch of political parties?

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sour29
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby sour29 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:02 am

8.4, by my best estimate.

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Liesbeth
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby Liesbeth » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:35 am

sour29 wrote: I'm glad that your experience with coalition governments is essentially positive. It gives me more to look forward to.

well, I guess the way this came about will sour things for quite while (no pun intended)...

thanks for posting this, it's interesting to hear about these things. Canada is not a country which makes the Dutch news or newspapers very often.

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John
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby John » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:15 pm

Canada is just limbering up, getting ready for the day the last remnant of the Polar ice cap finally melts and they become the most powerful nation on Earth. At which point I predict a coup by a Mobutu-style strongman.

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sour29
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby sour29 » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:15 pm

Yeah, the media's going crazy about the whole thing. Headline article currently on the Canadian National Post:
Image
The Conservatives on Tuesday released radio ads accusing the opposition politicians of attempting to take power "through the back door," their latest sortie in the fight to turn public opinion against the proposed coalition government.

I think it's working. Even my brother was stomping around the house today, talking about how much he hates the very notion of it, and he hates politics! The front page of the newspapers sensationalized it as well. "This cannot be allowed to happen!" etc.

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sour29
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby sour29 » Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:53 pm

Conversely, the coalition is coming back with such as this: http://www.rundp.org/

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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby Liesbeth » Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:31 pm

say, what's the current situation: do you guys have a new government, or did the Conservatives manage to survive the attack?

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sour29
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Re: We have politics in Canada, too!

Postby sour29 » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:16 pm

It was put off until the Conservatives presented their budget, which they did just this past week. The Liberal party "turned" on the coalition, so to speak, for the right to compromise in some of their ideas and suggestions.... So the coalition is effectively dead. So back to same ol' boring Conservative minority government.


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