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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Day in Canada

Another non-sciency post. I'll try to get back on topic later today with a few more Second Generation Sequencing posts later today. But for now, I figure a bit of politics is in order.

Us Canadians are always a step ahead of our American neighbors. We just had our thanksgiving long weekend, and today is our federal election, while Americans have to wait till November for thanksgiving and their election day. Of course, just like the American election, the Canadian election is a complete gong show. All mudslinging all the time!

Actually, for once, one party didn't bother with the attack adds, so they get my vote. They stayed on the issues, and even if I don't agree with everything they say, they seem to have a clear enough vision, and share most of my ideals. How much better can it get?

Unfortunately, unlike out American neighbours with their 2-party system, Canada has a lot of viable parties, and no clear cut winner, which means we're in for another minority government. (No one party controls the government, so power sharing becomes important.) Because the pary system in Canada is somewhat confusing and getting a lot less press time in the states than the US election, I figured I'd do my part to share a bit of Canadian culture with the world, and particularly for those Americans who are considering coming to canada if McCain wins...

Thus, I present the guide to Canadian political parties:
  • The Conservatives: roughly analogous to the American Republicans. Basically, whatever George Bush says is good for the Statesm, they believe is also good for Canada. More oil drilling, less arts, more tax breaks for big companies, less transparency for government.
  • The New Democratic Party (NDP): imagine if unions ran for office. Yep - that says it all. They have a very personable leader who makes it sound like a good idea to shift the entire tax burden of the country onto big businesses. (Won't they all leave?)
  • The Liberals: roughly analogous to the Democrats, but without a charismatic leader. They've tired to out-bully the Conservatives (but failed), they tried to out-environmental the greens (but failed), they've tried to out baby kiss the NDP (but failed), and never once even tried to portray themselves as the most centrist party in Canada. They've come down far in the world since they last held power
  • The Greens: a much more intelligent version of the US branch. They claim they can help reposition the ecconomy of the country to support ecologicaly sound businesses. Otherwise, their platform is relatively centrist (Education, health care, etc). On the down side, their party has a tradition of running a lot of nutjobs as candidates. Oops.
  • The Block Quebecois: imagine if Texas wanted to separate, and elected a bunch of loudmouth cowboys to congress to sit around and heckle the other congressmen. Except, of course, they claim that only people who speak French should be allowed into their "country." (They don't seem to care if you're black, red, green or white, just that you speak french - they're generally just language snobs who believe that the French won against the British in North America.) Fortunately, you can only vote for them in Quebec.
Faced with that choice, Canada will have another government by tomorrow - and a long 4 years ahead of us.



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