Canadians will be going to the polls on October 14! We can't vote, but I'm following the election, though I still don't fully grasp Canadian politics. Has this been covered by the American media at all? Canadian elections cost significantly less than American elections, and candidates campaign for a much shorter time.
Canadians do not vote directly for their Prime Minister. Instead, they vote for candidates in their local district (called a riding) who are hoping to be Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. The leader of the party with the most votes becomes the Prime Minister. Here are the main parties and leaders:
*Conservative Party of Canada. Leader: Stephen Harper. Harper is the current Prime Minister of Canada, however, he has a minority government. This means that the Conservatives got the most votes in the last election, but did not win more than half of the seats in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party is hoping for a majority government with this election. I read recently that with the exception of John Edwards, all of the Democratic candidates in the recent US primaries would be Conservatives in Canada.
*Liberal Party of Canada Leader: Stéphane Dion. The Liberals are currently the official opposition party.
*New Democratic Party of Canada. Leader: Jack Layton. The NDP is even further to the left than the Liberals.
*Bloc Québécois. Leader: Gilles Duceppe. This party wants independence for Québec.
*Green Party of Canada. Leader: Elizabeth May. As the name suggests, the Green Party advocates strongly for the environment.
*Other Canadian political parties: Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, Canadian Action Party, Christian Heritage Party, Communist Party, First Peoples National Party, Libertarian Party, Marxist-Leninist Party, Marijuana Party, Neo-Rhino Party, Progressive Canadian Party, Western Block Party.
Some primary issues in this election are the economy, the environment, and Canadian involvement in Afghanistan. This short quiz can help you discern which party leader best represents your views. My result was Elizabeth May of the Green Party. Go ahead and take it, whether you're a Canadian or not!
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