Two things you are not supposed to talk about at a dinner party: Religion and Politics. This is not a dinner party, so let’s discuss…elections.
There are many types of political systems around the world. Here is a brief synopsis:
- Some work (sorta)
- Some don’t
- Some are corrupt
Now that we all understand global politics, let’s talk about elections—more specifically, the Canadian election. Let’s preface this by saying that I’m not an expert, but you figured that out by now.
The Canadian Prime Minister, once they and their party is elected—
Quirk #1: The leader of the party is the one to become Prime Minister, but if they don’t win their seat in government, it makes for an awkward situation. (I don’t think this has happened)
—have four years before they have to call a new election.
Quirk #2: They can call an election at anytime, even a few weeks or months after. There is no set date.
Usually, it is near the end of the term, but if the party in power is a minority—
Quirk #3: With 5-plus political parties all vying to be elected, the party with the most seats wins, but may have less than all the other parties combined. Ex. Elected party has 38% of the seats, Party 2 has 25%, Party 3 has 20%, Party 4 has 10%, and Party 5 has 7% of the seats. In this case, if Party 2 and 3 gang up on Party 1, Party 1 can’t pass any bills because 2 and 3 will just vote them down.
—they have to get one of the other parties to agree with their platforms to be able to implement any programs.
Quirk #4: If the other parties don’t like what the party in power is doing—usually when they try to pass the yearly budget—they can call a vote of non-confidence, which means an election has to be called. This can happen at any time.
So, you want a majority government which is not handcuffed by the other parties.
Which brings me to the fact that after only 2 years in power (with a minority government), the Prime Minister has called a new election in hopes of winning that majority.
This can and has worked in the past, but you need to to convince voters that having a minority government is not ideal and that a majority is stronger, stable, and more efficient.
It can backfire, and it has, if voters are pissed off that they have to do this again so soon and flip their vote to other parties.
Quirk #5: We could wind up with the exact same minority or a completely different minority, which means we could have another election at any time.
Early elections often have lower turnout, but with mail-in ballots (due to Covid) could increase the votes or increase the amount of paper to be recycled.
So, here we are, half-way through the 5 week campaign—
Quirk #6: Election campaigns are short. Not like the US where is seems to go on forever.
—and at the end of September, Canada will have either the same leader or a new one.
Last Quirk: The province of Quebec is French speaking region with a very unique culture of its own. In the past, it has come close to leaving Canada to become independent (51% to 49% referendum vote). It has a regional party that is able to run its candidates federally. This party is focused on what is good for Quebec, not the national picture. With a large population, Quebec can (and has) won enough seats in parliament to form the official opposition in government but not enough to form a majority or a minority government.
Confused? I’m still more baffled by the US system.
That’s all the weirdness for today.
Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
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