So, as was fairly predictable, Canada dropped the ball again and elected Stephen Harper, our ultra-conservative angry man, who really belongs more to the States than to us.
What wasn't predictable was Harper came very close to a majority government, and I spent a good deal of time thinking about all sort of things he was likely to go after, including, but not only: freedom of speech in the arts (oh, yeah, and the arts), gay marriage (he really never liked it), women's rights (who cut nation-wide services that fund women's shelters?), the environment (which to me, is actually the most important, doesn't matter how bad things get, the land can save you)...
I've never been happier to return to a status quo that I really don't like. All I can say is: Dion, Layton and Duceppe had better make good on their promises to stand up against Harper. Don't keep this parliament running longer than it needs to be; I know it's an unpopular decision to kill a minority, because no one likes an election... but hey.
For those of you who don't quite get Canadian parliament: We have a total of 308 seats in parliament. Any time a party wins 155 or more of those seats, they get a practical carte blanche to do whatever they like. Anything less than 155, they end up with a minority government, which can be toppled by the other parties by voting against a movement in parliament. I'm willing to bet that Harper's confident enough by his almost-majority (143 seats) to try to push the buttons of the other parties: If they topple the government within the first year, they'll be blamed for the ensuing election. He's going to push for things they don't want NOW. But, he will remain acting like HarperLite, because he doesn't have the power to push his more controversial agendas.
Anyway, checking voter turn-out this morning and guess what? Turnout is down to 59.1%. In other words - not so hot. That is a record low, according to CBC. A large chunk of that is Newfoundland, ConLand, where the Conservative Premier stated that Harper's Conservatives were not good for the province, suggesting the catchy "ABC" Voting Strategy - Anything But Conservatives. I expect a lot of people just didn't really know who to vote for.
The other place I expect (don't have anything to back this assumption up) voters didn't show was Alberta. Oh, Alberta. So many new people have moved there, but everyone who votes central-to-left seems to think that since they don't have a chance, they just don't need to try. Well... thanks a lot, left-of-right Albertans. Your lack of voting is really what's screwing the rest of us over on a national level. You need to take responsibility and just elect someone Lib or NDP or, hell, the Greens would have a big fight there, but them too! I know Alberta's not really a great place to live these days. We all know that. You could be making $20/hour and still not be able to afford a house... but you gotta elect a party that's going to help rather than encourage Alberta to degenerate into a cesspool of poverty, oil and crime.
Nevertheless, we're taking our right to vote for granted. It's pathetic.
Finally, remember last year, when all the young voters didn't bother on voting for proportional representation? If you had bothered voting for that, we wouldn't have such a big problem on our hands with the current government.
Popular Vote vs Percentage of Seats (ie. Real Power) in Parliament:
37.63% vs 46.42% Conservative
26.24% vs 24.28% Liberal
9.97% vs 16.23% Bloc Quebecois
18.20% vs 12.01% New Democratic Party (NDP)
6.80% vs 0.00% Green Party
Just bothers me some that almost 20% of voters aren't properly represented (Helps that I'm one of them).