As I mentioned before, Canada is in the midst of a federal election campaign that will run until the date of the election which is October 14th.
In this post, I will introduce you to the candidates for the major parties and provide a little bit of commentary on them concerning either problems I have with them, things I like about them, or even both! Of course
First off is our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper is from the Conservative Party of Canada and has been the leader of this country since 2006 when his party surprised everyone and gained a minority government. The Conservative Party is the farthest right of all the parties, and thus, is not one of my favorites. This government has made the justice system more punitive, reneged on a major deal with Aboriginal peoples and turned back the clock on addictions policies. On the plus side, this government made a historic apology to Aboriginal peoples and cut a nationwide regressive tax. The Conservatives have the best chance of getting elected in this coming election.
Next up is Stéphane Dion and the Liberal Party of Canada. This party has been in power many times in the past and has seen its share of problems. The Liberals are leading the way in the fight for the environment with what they are calling the Green Shift. The Green Shift is basically a tax on carbon that is paid by corporations. In conjunction with this, they are also offering a tax cut for most families in recognition that this tax will affect all citizens. On the downside (if more tax isn't a downside), Dion does not appear to be a strong leader and he is fairly unknown. He has been criticized as "elitist" and as an "intellectual". It's a sad day when intelligence is a downfall, in my opinion.
Next up is the New Democratic Party of Canada, led by Jack Layton. While the NDP has literally no chance of forming the next government, I am hoping that they at least gain some more seats, as they have provided a strong voice in parliament as of late. They are a middle left leaning party that would provide many benefits for citizens and families alike. If elected, they would create a childcare program, invest in health care, provide a fairer immigration system and work towards election reform.
Next up is the Green Party of Canada with their leader, Elizabeth May. The Greens have made great strides lately and are projected at gaining more than 10% of the vote. Not bad for a party that got just under 5% of the vote last election. The downside of this is that due to our system of electing officials and the spread of support for the Greens, this percentage will likely not gain them a seat in parliament. I am guessing you can imagine what the Greens would bring to the table if elected, so I'll save the typing.
Lastly is one of the more interesting quirks in our Canadian political system, the Bloc Québécois. What makes this party interesting is that they only run candidates in the province of Quebec and their goal is the separation of Quebec from Canada. Although they only get 8% support across the country, that will translate into about 1/6 of the seats in parliament, making them the third most powerful party in the house. They come from a left of center place politically and, in all honesty, have done a lot of good for this country in that they are always willing to stand up to the government of the day if they're trying to pass some unpalatable legislation.
There are, of course, more parties. We have the Marxists, the Marijuana Party, the Libertarians, and the Christian Heritage Party.
As well as these, there is also my personal favorites, the Rhinoceros Party of Canada. They describe their platform as "two feet high and made of wood", would promote higher education by building taller schools, would annex the USA to make it our third territory, and in my favorite stand on an issue, would end all crime by abolishing all laws.
That's the stuff I can get behind!