Monday, January 23, 2006

Election Day

Not that anyone is interested, but today is election day in Canada.

After narrowly avoiding a no-confidence vote in May, the ruling Liberals could not avoid one in November, and an election was called for January 23rd.

All predictions are for the Progressive Conservatives to take over control of a minority government, led by Albertan Stephen Harper. Harper is notable in that he is not from Quebec. With the exception of three PMs who held office for only a few months each, every Canadian Prime Minister since 1968 has been from Quebec. He's also notable in that he's being described by some (and this is not considered a complement) as the "Canadian George Bush."

The fact that his party is considered radically conservative because it wants same-sex marriage to be voted on in the Parliament rather than simply decreed by the courts gives you an indication of just how different things can be on the other side of the 49th parallel.

As fractious as U.S. politics may seem, it is nothing compared to our frosty northern neighbor's. The fact that the Conservatives will have a minority government basically means that in order to pass legislation they will have to make common cause with either a party to their left (Liberals), a party way to their left (New Democrats), or a party that only exists in order to break up the Canadian Confederation (Bloc Quebecois).

The only reason to expect that anything other than complete gridlock will happen will be the fact that they all know how pissed voters will be if they force another election before a decent interval has passed.

So it seems as though Harper will lead a hamstrung government that only be able to make changes incrementally and will, like any minority government, start gearing up for the next election.


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