Thursday, May 5, 2011

What the HECK, Canada?!?!

I thought things seemed pretty promising for the May 2, 2011 Canadian National election with the whole Vote Mob movement encouraging youth to vote.

Then election day came. And there was only about 61.4% voter turnout (a mere 14.7 out of 24 million eligible voters bothered to show up).

I have never been so disappointed in my fellow Canadians in my life. Seriously, what the HECK Canada?!?!

Are people seriously that out of tune with the news? Do people really care so little about things like the environment, foreign aid, poverty reduction and democracy (re:Parliament and voting)?

We just gave a freakin' majority government to a party that was held in contempt of Parliament (which is what got the whole election thing started in the first place). 

Honestly, I have so many beefs with how Harper has run Canada thus far I don't even want to try writing the specifics because once I get started I won't be able to stop--and this is from him being in charge of a minority government! I can't even begin to imagine how much Canadians (who aren't running big businesses or producing oil, that is) and the Canadian international reputation are going to suffer now that he's got a majority government.

And what the heck is wrong with our voting system? Just take a look at this graph of votes vs seats in Parliament (from the Vancouver Observer).

As my friend James broke it down, here's the number of voters it took to elect one MP (Member of Parliament):

1 Conservative MP - 34,925 voters
1 NDP MP - 44,201 voters
1 Liberal MP - 81,858 voters
1 BQ MP - 222,447 voters
1 Green MP - 576,221 voters

I've honestly never thought too deeply about the Canadian voting system, but after this election, I'm really thinking that we need to work out a more proportional system. (Although fat chance of any election reform happening with the Conservatives getting 137%of seats relative to their percent of votes.)  

ARGH!!! Talk about spoiling what would otherwise have been an awesome Golden Week holiday (more about that later). I just feel so disappointed, no, disgusted with my fellow Canadians. It's like how I felt when Bush (George W.) got re-elected for a second term--except I don't have the comfort of being able to say, well, that's America. Ugh. This is probably the first time I've felt ashamed to be Canadian.

The only good thing about this election was that the NDP got official opposition status. I don't have anything against the Liberals (heck, I voted Liberal), but they probably did need the kick in the butt to get them out of their complacency. And the NDP is actually the party whose policies best fit my values/ideology, it's just that I was never convinced that they'd be able to run a fiscally responsible government (which is why I've always voted Liberal instead).

Apparently the next Federal (and Ontario Provincial--don't even get me started on that) elections are slated for October 2015. Maybe I'm better off staying in Japan until then. (Although I'd have to get a government-related job or go back to be eligible to vote since that would make it more than 5 years living outside of Canada.)

[Edit: I just bought Open and Shut: Why America Has Barack Obama and Canada Has Stephen Harper by John Ibbitson- it's been on my reading list for a couple of weeks but I feel that it may be particularly timely now.]

No comments: