Go Smell The Canadian Election!

Posted on October 5th, 2008 by taylorblue

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper photo credit

Here in Canada we are in the midst of an election. We only found out last month that this was happening. The day we go to the polls is October 14. And last Thursday, the same day as the Vice-President debate in the States, here in Canada we had our debate. There was one held earlier on in the week in French, and I didn’t catch much of that one. The one in English was quite entertaining. I had thought I chose who I wanted to vote for. But things change sometimes…

I have always been a fan of the Prime Minister because he just lived down the road from me here in Calgary. But, he messes up Canada a bit and really didn’t go through on what he promised. So I picked a guy that I thought that could ‘git-r-done’ BUT when I saw him in the debate I changed my mind. Every question that was asked his way he would sit there and attack the Prime Minister. I wanted to hear what he was going to do…not hear what the Prime Minister did wrong.

It’s funny how things like that can make or break someone’s campaign. It sure changed my opinion of him. Also, I want to note. I have never been into politics, but for work I have been forced to follow the American campaign so that I can write about it. Watching the Americans has made me realize it’s important to vote.

Do you plan on voting in your next election where you are in the world and will it make a difference and I ask you – Do you think we need elections or is society better off without them?

23 Responses to “Go Smell The Canadian Election!”

  1. YES!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve been voting since I was was 18 years old and I consider it a privledge that I live in America where I can vote. I was so excited when I voted in my first presidential election…I’m not telling!!!!

  2. aussiecynic says:

    In Oz Taylor voting is compulsory…
    every person over 18 must register to vote by law..
    Voting is not just a right it carries great responsibility…
    if you choose not to vote then you have no right complaining about who runs your country or what they are getting right and wrong.. you wave that right.

    It is something which you should be used with the utmost care, knowing what the person stands for, and what you are getting…. not follow the rest of the pack because you like their company….

    • Tight Speedos says:

      Abstaining from casting a vote in an election, is a political statement in itself.

      • aussiecynic says:

        not really because no one knows and all you are doing is shurking your responsibilities and given up one of your fundamental rights..
        besides only those who are incapable of making a decision and commitment themselves to their views abstain ..
        those who are take responsiblity for and who truly care what happens to their country take it seriously….
        democracy is a way for the people to have their say, have their voices heard and make change… if you dont vote it shows apathy and a lack of thought and patriotism towards your home…. otherwise why bother anyone can have a dictactorship or a communist state….
        would you prefer that…

        • Tight Speedos says:

          Casting no vote is a political statement in itself.

          The none voter is implying:

          1. No faith in candidates / parties up for election.
          2. No faith in the government system.
          3. Sends message to candidates to work harder to get none voter support next time.

          On the other hand, forcing a voter to vote irrespective of their political view point is tantamount to operating as a dictator.

        • Lib says:

          But how do you distinguish between the people that are not voting because they’re making a political stance and the people that simply can’t be bothered?

          The latter need to be encouraged, otherwise that apathy will pass down from generation to generation and things will never change.

        • Tight Speedos says:

          Enforced voting is just as wrong as no voting – no voting as in no chance to vote as within a non-democracy, not as in choosing not to vote.

          I don’t believe “the apathy will pass from generation to generation” any more than political bias will be passed on from one generation to the next.

          Pehaps if the self styled democratic governments of the Western world would open ballot slips up further to enable voters to select reasons for not voting for a single candidate, then more non-voters would take part. As it is, people who do not trust any one candidate sufficiently to give them their vote and consequently enter blank voting slips are discredited with having ‘destroyed’ their vote.

  3. Lib says:

    Admittedly in some countries people are dragged by rifle point to vote for the dictator of the moment but that doesn’t happen in most ‘westernised’ countries.

    So by not voting, are we not doing a dis-service to the people who are forced to vote, and forced to vote for the wrong people?

    We have a choice, they don’t, and it’s only by excercising this right that things will change for the people that do not have the freedom of choice to vote.

    Things do change. Who’d have thought only 30 years ago that in America today the leading presidential candidates (at one point) were a woman and a black man?

    Things do change.

    But only if we vote.

    • Tight Speedos says:

      We have freedom of choice, nail on the head, that is democracy at work, even choosing not to vote.

      The Aussies apparently do not, they must vote, that is not democracy.

      • Lib says:

        But they’re not forced to vote for one candidate though?

        • Tight Speedos says:

          I guess not, but they are forced to vote, that is not a working democracy if an individual Australian does not want to vote.

          It’s about freedom of choice, which an Australian clearly does not have under these circumstances.

        • I think that she was just talking about her family “laws.”

        • Tight Speedos says:

          No, she quite clearly writes, “In Oz… every person over 18 must register to vote by law..”

        • aussiecynic says:

          Thought my ears were burning….
          Yes we must be over 18 to vote….
          you can vote informal.. however that vote goes to the party in government….

          We have 2 major parties to whom have the opportunity to take government however we have many other parties who have the chance to take seats in the House of Representives etc..
          Our system is set up so as we can vote and put in place a range of people whose interests are wide and varied… including a third major party whose interests are the environment…. anyperson can run for election after forfilling qualifying tasks… we had in the election recently up to 8 people to choose from as our Members of Parliament each one representing a party and some independant of a party, then we also had another ballat which we had on our Senate Ballot a choice of over 50 candidates to choose from in which we place a number from one to 50+ in order of preferance…

          so as you can see our system is not about voting for one person.. each areas has its own candidates… we do not vote for the leader of each party we vote for the person we wish to represent us in Governement, the Major party either Labor or Liberal takes power dependent upon on how many seats the people have given to their party… your party can get the most vote but have the least seats and so you do not gain power… the senate is what decides on the laws so here is required people with wide varying views…
          There is no excuse for not voting, there is plenty of choice and diversity in candidates, we are thankful however that we do have a voice regardless of it being compulsory, the alternative would be total appathy, lack of interest and unproductive kaos..

          To say by not voting you are using your voice as a form of protest is simply just showing a lack of understanding within the issues and a lack of interest in things other than those contained within your life.
          A protest should bring about a result, should be seen as what it is, your reasons for protest should also be able to seen whats the point if no one knows why, isnt it a better use of your voice to attempt to bring about change by changing those in power and showing the governement that you do not agree by firing them rather than sitting at home and saying I dont want to vote I am going to sit here a sulk….
          I do hopes this helps understanding how our system works.. it is Thankfully completely different to that of your system and works very well… No guns required….

        • Tight Speedos says:

          AC, how many candidates can stand for election is not relevant to my point.

          What is relevant is that Australians are forced to vote. That is NOT choice, and that principal of FORCING people to vote is undemocratic by its very nature.

          I am a UK citizen. My and country does not require guns to change governments either. Furthermore the UK system is in actual fact what your country’s constitution and electoral system is based upon. The only difference I am aware of being that UK citizens are not forced to vote.

          I myself have chosen on a number of occasion not to vote, and I wholly take exception to your position that this shows a lack of undertstanding of issues, or apathy. Quite the contrary. When I have not voted it has been because there has not been a candidate I can support. Casting a vote simply because I have to would have implied that I agreed with whomever I was giving my vote to, and morally I have been unable to do that. It most certainly has not driven your rather naive statement of ‘sitting here and sulking’. It has been driven by political motivation and the need to make a statement accordingly.

          It is recognised that non voters are an issue. The reasons behind non voting are a debated point and political parties endeavour to win these people over. This forces would be politicians to listen and hopefully react accordingly, and that is democracy at work driven by the political statement made by me and many others when we have chosen not vote to vote.

          In choosing not to vote, I exercise my democratic right, a democratic right that Australians apparently do not have.

  4. Gareth in Thailand says:

    Some thoughts, I am by no means an expert on politics.

    I like the statements about single party states. We automaticlly assume that a Communist state is bad and that lack of elections is bad whilst democracy is automatically good. These systems operate in a sort of ‘rule by committee’. That is, there is a local area committee, a regional committee and a national committee. A number of my work colleagues in China were involved heavily in the party as they wanted to influence how their country was run and by whom. Its not as immediate as our democracy but then again how good is rapid change of leadership for any large business (and running a country is big business). Where the systems in the former Soviet Bloc went wrong was the rampant paranoia leading to a police state and mass control, the actual principle wasn’t that mad, depends on how it is done and how strictly you stick to whichever principle you claim your system to be based on. Most confuse totalitarian police states with the system they are claiming to run.
    In China I personally feel democracy would be the worst thing they could do as the people there are so anarchic by nature. Sure the system they have is far from ideal but that is due to endemic corruption, however it has delivered a booming economy and massive improvements in hundreds of millions of people’s standards of living. They have an advantage in that where they started from was so poor due to failures in many of Mao’s policies. No one guy there makes the policy it is done by a big committee. I was lucky enough to be friends with one guy who was asked to be part of such a committee to study how they could get better wealth distribution in the populace so as to avert future unrest. Due to their system they had the time and the ability to put some policy in place.
    Now no system is perfect and the system in China is not one I would choose myself but we should not dismiss out of hand, with rash statements, that which we don’t understand simply because we are told and indoctrinated from an early age that our system is the right one. Again, don;t confuse their special brand of Communism with some of the results of corruption like the latest milk scandal.

    Here in Thailand they have a democracy and it falls over all the time as the ‘losers’ do not accept the result, not as extreme as the episode in Kenya but flawed nonetheless. If the people who oppose the ruling party protest violently and then the government changes then where does that leave democracy if 20,000 people out of 60,000,000 can force another change? Thaksin Shinawatra was removed by the military, they eventually allowed another election and to all intents as purposes the same party got back in, now the rich are protesting again and the leader again got removed. Democracy does not always work. Italy also has a pretty hopeless democracy with coalition government after coalition government not working. Would you continue to cast a vote in a system that is not working? If you examine the leadership options and disagree then you should eb allowed to aabstain, the number of anstentions should be a message to the would be rulers that perhaps they need to offer something else, how else do you get them to recognise this?

    Another thing to consider is having a two party system only makes you 50% better than the one party system. When those two parties differ only by a small amount in terms of policy and leadership then I think it is dangerous to send a message of acceptance via a vote. This is where abstinance becomes your only option as Mr Speedos points out. It could be argued that there is then a case for the individual to become involved and stand themselves but not everyone wants to be involved or lead the country, indeed in many cases it incur loss of income or career to suddenly become an MP.
    The issue I think we should also look at is the boom bust nature of our leadership. For the first couple of years the guys do what is right for the country but after that they have to tear up some of this in order to deliver sweeteners to the voters so they get back in. This means long term strategy is something we struggle to hold down. We should also consider that whilst we think the 1 party states withold information and cheat their populace we are no better. Remember that large episode in bull that went under the guise of WMD and was used to force us to believe we should go to war with Iraq. Does anyone know who shot Kennedy? There are a lot of secrets and things we are not allowed to see that would otherwise lead us to different opinions and maybe cast our vote differently.

    If we had true deomcracy then surely we would vote on each piece of legislation. In practice this is unworkable so we have leaders, chosing to vote for them or not should be your choice in a proclaimed free country.
    At least thats my two pence worth.

  5. Jim says:

    Interesting stuff from around the world…

    What about Dubai?

    You get the tax-free salary, but in return you have to give up all your rights. There’s no accountability, no transparency, no rule of law. There’s no legislative body. Very few employment rights and no vote…..

    In anyone bothered there? Most would choose not to vote than to keep on keeping on while the going is good.

    • Taylor Blue says:

      You get a tax-free salary? Here about half of our paychecks are taken with taxes!

      • Do you believe that you receive better healthcare, homelessness, unemployment and social services as a result compared to what you hear about in the US? To me it would be worth it if it actually paid for things that are necessary, but the service would have to be excellent quality. Too many homeless, mentally & physical ill without insurance to go to the doctor, mediocre social service programs because they can’t pay well, symptom focus rather than treatment focus, etc… Oh, now I feel overwhelmed, sad and angry!!!

        • Taylor Blue says:

          Well, here in Alberta we don’t have free health care like the rest of Canada we pay about $400 a month per family. But, that being said we can go to the doctors as much as we want and my daughter is getting helped by a psychiatrist for free because of it. But the homeless people wouldn’t get that health care unless they were paying for it here. I think sometimes I wish we could pay because sometimes you want something done right away and not wait.

          It just doesn’t seem fair that here in the richest province in Canada we get a half of our paychecks taken away from us in taxes. We can’t afford houses and there are many many homeless people here in the city because of everything being expensive.

        • I guess there are pro and cons to everything. The homeless can qualify for benefits at no charge.

        • Jim says:

          Tax free Dubai also comes at a ‘price’
          No vote – If that is of value to you of course…

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