What happened in Canadian Election?

My pal Raul asked this question at: What the heck happened this past Canadian Federal Election?

Here’s my brief reply:

The left was split and Canada’s true desires weren’t manifest. The Liberals ran a (sorry) lousy campaign, the Green acquitted themselves excellently but are out numbered everywhere and the Cons slipped right in strategically laughing while Layton attacked Dion.

We need a proportional representative system where the House reflects Canada. We need a run-off style ballot so we aren’t flummoxed by the “strategic voting” conundrum (i vote with my heart).

And the parties need to show – in short, clear statements – how we (they) can protect the environment while promoting the economy.

I am still worked up about they way this election went down and riffed more about it at A Few words for Democracy at happyfrog.

I have a Choogle on! podcast coming out shortly (really) with my emotional reaction to the results in Canada and the impending vote in the USA. And I discussed the Conservative minority win on the Dopecast on Dopefiend.co.uk.
While i am on topic, here are my democratic actionable items, observations etc. cross-posted from happyfrog post A Few words for Democracy:
flying coloursOhhhh Canada

With the Canadian Federal election behind us, a looming USA General election (which will effect everyone), plus a Vancouver Mayoral race in which the winner will preside over the 2010 Olympics and attempt to assuage the controversies around the development, democracy in action is catching the attention of everyone – or should be anyhow.

I’ve personally learned that policy is decided by those who “show up” and let their opinions be heard – not by throwing rocks but rather by civilized discourse and personal expression to the policy makers.

Here are a few tools, events and ideas I’ve come acress to help constructively participate in the political process, while not sinking to the mud-slinging which happens when the issues cut to the core of who we are as a community.

Media Democracy Day- Speak up!

Media Democracy Day LogoThis Saturday at SFU’s downtown campus come “Speak for Ourselves” and learn about the critical issues effecting the media – both in terms of content and delivery – at Media Democracy Day Vancouver 2008.

With mainstream conglomerates amalgamating local media into a generic mish-mash more focused on selling ad space than spreading critical information, and Telcos (with the encouragement of the Federal government) tightening their grip on the gates of what’s “acceptable” there is plenty to educate yourself about.

Noted speakers will share their opinions – including happyfrog columnist and co-founder of Greenpeace Rex Wyeler and Tyee’s chief David Beers – and relevant panels will present different perspectives on this dynamic landscape from open access to citizen journalism to copyright/wrong.

Now Polling Grassroots Opinions

happyfrog at Car Free Fests

I’ve seen and chatted with Pedro from NowPolling.ca at many community events as he spreads the message that “Participation is the essence of Democracy”.

Sign up for a free account at NowPolling.ca and you can weigh in with your opinion on current issues of concern to the community on a local, provincal and federal level.

Here’s how they describe their work:

“This is a non-profit forum where anyone can register their opinions on a broad range of issues. You can choose your answers now, and if you change your mind, you can return to change your vote anytime.

As far as we know, nowpolling.ca is the first in the world to provide a perpetual polling system which facilitates your democratic right to participate in the political process.”

Sign up for an free NowPolling.ca account and see how your opinions jibe with your fellow electors.

Fairer Voting

Despite the optimism I held from watching the debates and CBC engaging X Challenge debate (with a cameo by happyfrog pal Chris Livingstone of EPIC Sustainable Living Expo), the results were a split left and a stronger minority government for the Conservative Party. Ugh.

go green

During the election, many folks rallied for strategic voting for the environment in order to prevent Conservatives from taking seats. While I fervently support the environment, I personally don’t buy into strategic voting.

The solution which has come out of the election with some vigor is proportional representation. You can learn more about this at Fairvote.ca but briefly, this means a House of Commons which reflects the popular vote rather than the minority winner from the patchwork of ridings.

Here’s Fairvote’s statement about the recent election:

As usual, the first-past-the-post system played havoc with voters’ intentions. The Green Party, western Liberals, the NDP and urban Conservatives were among the political victims. The Parliament voters tried to create would have looked quite different from what the voting system gave us. Read the Fair Vote Canada press release.

The impetus for many to rally behind this is seeing the Greens leap up to just shy of 7% of the popular vote yet get no seats while the NDP led the Bloc Quebecois in the popular vote but trailed in the seats.

Sign the petition

Another related idea is to vote for your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice to form a “run-off” in each riding with the lowest candidate dropped and the votes recounted until a candidate had over 50% of the vote rather than the “first past the post” system now.

Whichever way you feel, it is a big question for Canadians and there is a movement for a voting referendum to encourage *more* democracy.

Voteabroad.org & Democrats Abroad

happyfrog at Car Free Fests

Ex-pat BeccaJo explained in her post “Last chance to vote in the U.S.!” the process and importance of voting for Americans living in the Great White North.

Registering is the critical first step. Next up, voting! If you are from the USA, you should have received your ballot already – if not, get on the phone to the county auditor in your last county of residence.

If you have received it, fill it out and get it in the mail or drop it off at the US Embassy. Unlike mailing from within the USA, you gotta pony up for an international air mail stamp.

For Demo-politicos seeking bonding in Canada, consider hanging out with the Democrats Abroad in Vancouver or via email. They are likely to be hosting a results viewing party for a big Nov. 4th.

CBC using Twitter

Some netizens have noticed the new happyfrog_ca Twitter account. Like many new web apps, this is a bit strange to explain at first – basically 140 character mini-thoughts.

The recent General election provided a good example as CBC followed the chatter via Twitter as voters watched the Leader Debates and flowed out a stream on collective consciousness with their off the cuff, candid reactions to the Q&A flowed to OrmistonVotes Twitter account.

Ormiston Voting Twitter

If you aren’t using Twitter, it’s free and fun. If you are, follow happyfrog_ca and pay attention to #vanvotes and other keywords (known as “hashtags” and when preceded with a # sign) to keep a pulse on what the people are feeling/thinking/expressing right now – all in haiku-like length.

And Finally, a By-Election

If you aren’t all voted out yet, great because there is a provincial by-election coming up. happyfrog pal Miss604 has an awesome (as usual) overview BC By-Elections for Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview.

Monte Paulsen gives the low down in The Tyee’s The Hook political blog:

As if Vancouverites needed another fall election, Premier Gordon Campbell has called two provincial by-elections for October 29th in the Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview ridings.

Vancouver-Burrard became vacant in September after MLA Lorne Mayencourt, a B.C. Liberal, resigned to run for the Conservative Party in the Oct. 14 federal election.

Vancouver-Fairview became vacant in July after MLA Gregor Robertson, a B.C. New Democrat, resigned to run as Vision Vancouver’s mayoral candidate in the Nov. 15 civic election.

With some high-profile candidates in the mix, hopefully voter apathy and burnout will be thwarted and the turnout will be high and mighty.

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2 thoughts on “What happened in Canadian Election?”

  1. I am sorry but the New Democrats DID NOT attack the Liberals. In fact most pundits agreed that for the majority of the campaign Layton focused mainly on the Conservatives. Layton of course pointed out the differences between himself and his party and Dion and the Liberals (particularly in regards to the fact that the Liberals propped up the Tories over 40 times).

    In fact it was the Liberals who spent more time attacking the NDP. I would suggest that you take a gander at the list of Liberal press releases (http://www.liberal.ca/pressrelease_e.aspx?page=2) vs the NDP list of press releases (http://www.ndp.ca/pressreleases).

    The NDP talked a little bit more about the Liberals post debate but the Liberals were attacking the NDP from the first week of the campaign.

Whatcha think?