Canada votes!

With everything else, let’s not forget that it’s Election Day in Canada. I’m always able to summon interest in Canadian politics because:

  1. My section of Minnesota was negotiated away from the British at the last minute after the War of 1812, so I sometimes feel vaguely Canadian.
  2. I pronounce about, “aboot.”
  3. I love me some parliamentary elections. The one thing about the multiparty parliamentary system is that even though the politicians are every bit as idiotic, narcissistic, partisan and ineffectual as ours, there’s a civility built into the need for a coalition that prevents anyone from taking themselves too seriously. For instance, how seriously did you take the Canadian election until I brought it up? Exactly.

The Conservatives currently hold a minority government in Canada. That is to say they won the most seats in the last election but did not win an outright majority. Canada hasn’t had an outright majority in four consecutive elections. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently lost a no-confidence vote in parliament, thus triggering this year’s election (They have bonus elections whenever the current crowd decides they can’t work together.)

The once dominant Liberal Party has struggled to reinvent itself in the 21st century and continues to cede ground to another left-of-center party called the New Democrats. In fact, the NDP is poised for its biggest election in history, according to polls, could potentially become the #2 party in Canada. Their leader Jack Layton, who would become prime minister in the event they win the election outright, has a mustache. Having grown up with a mustachioed news anchor on my TV I approve of this.

Then — and this is my favorite part about parliamentary system — you have the Bloc Quebecois. This is a party that only runs candidates in Quebec, one of Canada’s most populous provinces. Quebec, of course, is a predominately French-speaking province with its own unique culture. What do they want? Well, besides an independence vote that will never happen, I’m not sure. Much of Canada isn’t sure. Presumably something about Quebec. How do they vote? Oui on some stuff, non on the rest.

The most likely outcome is another Conservative minority government. However, the surprising success of the New Democrats means that if the NDP splits progressive voters in Liberal ridings the Conservatives could swoop in for more win and a resounding victory, despite getting 35 percent of the vote. Or, the Liberals and New Democrats could form a coalition government themselves, perhaps involving the mustachioed gentleman. Also, Quebec! This is awesome!

They’ll be covering this at 9 p.m. CST on C-SPAN2. I will be watching.

(Image from Getty via About).

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