The Girl in Black

Se necesita una poca de gracia.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yay! I learned stuff about Canada today!

Okay, yeah, so I got caught up in someone else's election hijinx, but this is really funny.

Note: All links in this post will open in a new window unless you're using Firefox and select the "open in a new browser" option when you right click.

I heard this on All Things Considered today. Go here, scroll down a little, and on the left look for the link that says "liberal attack ad about Harper and military presence." Watch it. Doesn't it make your skin crawl? Attack ads suck.

Okay, now go here, and watch Rick Mercer's parody of the Liberal attack ad about Harper and military presence (courtesy of cbc.ca, who is nice enough to put up clips from the Rick Mercer Report).

Now that is funny. At least, to me it is. It made me laugh more than anything else today, and that's what counts.

And to be fair, Mercer did a parody for the Conservative Party too. At least, that's all that I found in my little bit of Googling. Well, that and The Subliminal Party, who have a very well written note about how voter apathy and television has shaped politics (and then you can watch some more parody ads. They're all over the net). Yeah, they're talking about Canada, but in relation to America I couldn't have said it better myself. Guys, you go with your bad selves!


What I learned today:

Canada's House of Commons is cool. There are 308 seats that can get split up between four parties:

The Liberal Party - They've been in charge for the past 13 years, and are more slightly-to-the-left of moderate than what I think we would classify as "liberal" in the States. (And no, the Democratic party doesn't really count as "liberal" like the right-wing propoganda machine wants you to think.)

The Conservative Party - The guys jockeying for power right now. An American living in Canada told me that they're more moderate than the "conservatives" that we have down here. Apparently in a recent poll about 90% of them would have voted for Kerry?

The New Democratic Party - Socialists. Dirty, pinko socialists.*

Bloc Québécois - Quebec. You know, the province in Canada that speaks French and wants to be its own country? Yeah, apparently this is the party of Quebec, by Quebec, and for Quebec. People running for the entire country's Parliament campaign and get votes only in Quebec, a party that exists only in Quebec, and yet it gets 75 seats out of the 308 in Parliament. Sure, they're left-wing like the NDP. They're labor-friendly and all that stuff. But their main focus? Sovereignty for Quebec. So, um, why do they want to participate in the government of a country they don't want to be a part of?

The neat thing about all of this is that since your party needs 155 seats to make up a majority, which can be tricky, you wind up with "Minority Governments." Rick Mercer explained it best today when he said "Okay, so imagine if George W. Bush is president and can do whatever he wants...so long as Ralph Nader agrees."

Some people argue that in a multi-party political system (where more than two parties have actual power in the government) nothing would ever get done because the government would be constantly overthrown by votes of no confidence and the like.

Um, what did I just say about the Liberal party being in power for 13 years?

I would have to say that in Canada, things have gotten done. Am I wrong? I mean, you know, there's a country up there that seems to be doing pretty well for itself. They make policies, they meet with other foreign officials in a "hey, our countries should be buddies" sense instead of an "oh god, please help us" sense. They've got plenty of laws and policies. And they've only been on the continent as long as we have. I wish we had more than two dominant political parties too.

I know I'm glossing over a lot here, so if anyone has a dissenting opinion or wants to point out anything I've missed by all means have at it. I'm just a person who uses Google and Wikipedia to do backup research on the fly while writing posts. In the immortal words of Radiohead, "I might be wrong."

* PS- I mean no disrespect to socialists of any stripe. I believe I have some socialist leanings myself, and would definitely place myself left of the middle.

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