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Last night my boyfriend and I got takeout from Swiss Chalet (chicken place) and they mistakenly gave me fries instead of rice – apparently I didn’t enunciate well enough… Anyway, despite the fact that they were soggy, I still ate some and subsequently woke up at 3am in a coughing fit, despite having taken my trusty Deflect before and after eating and again before bed… Potatoes were the one avoid I really clung to until about a year ago – for a long time I was convinced that I had no negative reaction to them (silly me). I am thankful to be feeling more normal this morning and for the reminder that potatoes are bad. BAD.
WARNING: I am going to talk politics (a little). Here is a link for news coverage: http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/
Yesterday was the Canadian Federal Election, the second election we have had in less than two years. After 12 years of Liberal leadership, the Conservatives won the most seats (124 of 308), but not enough for a majority. The rest of the seats were divided among three other parties, plus one independent. If you do the math, other parties can team up to defeat motions by the Conservatives, although they will still lead the government. This is our second minority government in a row and it will probably only last one or two years.
I was going to write a blog about how Canadian politics works (to aid the mostly American visitors to this site). I was going to write about the issues in this election, how I feel about it, and what the future holds. However, the more I tried to write all this stuff, the less I had to say!
I got more interested and involved in this election than ever before. I loved listening to debates on the radio, then getting to work to read the paper, then researching the parties and platforms on the internet. I even watched the two-hour, commercial-free January debate AND I found it entertaining! Finally, I stayed up two hours past my bed-time last night to watch election coverage on four different TV stations. So, you can imagine my surprise that I am now “sooo over it” today.
So, only a few facts to ponder:
1) A minority government means that none of the parties can get anything done without cooperating with at least one other party.
2) Voter turnout this time was about 65%, only a small increase over the last election. Both elections had controversy, new leaders, etc, so voter turnout was expected to be higher.
3) Does anyone feel content when they vote? There seems to be something wrong with all candidates, so votes are used to keep someone else out of office, to teach a lesson, or to elect the “best of the worst”.
The pessimist in me (heavily influenced by the media) thinks that this minority outcome demonstrates that Canadians don’t trust anybody in government – we are not comfortable with any one party having a clear mandate. Plus, apparently 35% of us are apathetic losers, and the rest of us that did vote are uninformed bozos that didn’t do enough research before voting.
The optimist in me (and, I think, the better half) realizes (and tries to remember everyday) that we are among the most fortunate people in the world. We are not only free to vote, but to connect with the candidates, debate the issues with anyone, and ultimately use our vote however we see fit, even if we make our decision based on our favourite colour. We are confident the parties will work together to get things done, and if they don’t, we are comfortable with nothing changing. We also feel incredibly secure – those who don’t vote are confident to leave it up to others or are at least comfortable that any result with be fine for them.
Today, the optimist is winning. Living in Canada, we too easily forget that we are the exception in the world, not the rule.
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