Sunday, April 17, 2011

Proud to be Canadian

I've been trying to keep up-to-day with news on the upcoming May 2nd Canadian national election. Here are some articles/videos I've seen that make me proud to be a Canadian and give me hope for our country's political future:

RMR: Rick's Rant - Vote
Rick Mercer asks youths (aged 18-24) to vote in Rick's Rant during the March 29th season finale of the Rick Mercer Report:
So there we have it, we are heading into an election or, as Stephen Harper calls it, a dangerous and unnecessary exercise. Because as we all know, Canada is one of the world's greatest democracies and the greatest threat to that democracy is that we get to vote. But vote we will.
See the full text on or watch the video on YouTube.

Vote Mobs
University students respond to Rick's Rant by creating "Vote Mob" videos declaring their intentions to vote and challenging party leaders/candidates to impress them. Read more about the Vote Mob movement at the and Toronto Star websites.

Go Ethnics Go?!?!
In response to the battle for the so-called "ethnic" vote--and, in particular, an email request for "up to 20 people in national folklore costumes which represent their ethnic backgrounds" for a photo-op with Stephen Harper--The Colour of Poverty, an Ontario-based anti-poverty group created a music video to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" to "reject the tactics of certain politicians in their targeting." As one line from the song states: "Don’t wanna be an ethnic, be Canadian." Read the Toronto Star article or watch the video on YouTube (English subtitled).

S#*T Harper Did
A website with pithy comments about some of the...less impressive...things Harper has done in politics and as Prime Minister. Obviously it's completely biased against Harper (and by extension the Conservative Party), but I recommend reading the links to fuller online articles accompanying each statement as some of the stuff that has gone on under the leadership of Harper is really deplorable, for example: closing the Canadian embassies in Malawi and 6 other countries and cutting aid to Africa by 50% before freezing foreign aid increases in  2010. Personally I've thought that Harper has very little to no respect for democracy since he prorogued parliament--and not just once, but twice--so I LOVE this site! (Read more about the prorogation(s) on The Economist, Toronto Star, and Globe and Mail websites.)

Omar Alghabra: The Right Way to Run for Parliament
Found this blog post about a YouTube cartoon self-introduction made by the Liberal Candidate for my home riding, Omar Alghabra. I love that it's a statement of who he is and what he stands for rather than an attack ad (which I despise). I was disappointed that he didn't win during the 2008 election, but am hopeful that he will win this time around. (I only recently learned that the reason was most likely because the NDP also had a strong candidate so the leftist votes got split between the Liberals and NDP allowing the Conservatives to win. ARGH!) Incidentally, my special ballot should be delivered tomorrow (Monday, April 18)! I am definitely planning to vote for Alghabra again this year.

So, on a related note...

How Canadians Overseas Can Vote:
It's getting down to the wire, but if you need to register for the International Registrar of Electors to vote by mail by special ballot, you can get the application form from the Elections Canada website here:

Completed applications for special ballots must be received at Elections Canada by 6pm on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 to be eligible for the May 2, 2011 election. And (obviously) completed special ballots must be received at Elections Canada by May 2, 2011.

If you want to save yourself some postage/international faxing costs, I'd recommend scanning and emailing the application and copies of the supporting documents to a family member/friend in Canada to fax (so it won't matter that it's a scan and not an original signature) to Elections Canada.

It really doesn't take all that much effort, so I really hope any fellow overseas Canadians reading this will take the very little time needed to register for the vote. With everything that's been going on in the Middle East and North Africa, I feel it's more important than ever to exercise our democratic rights by voting. As Rick Mercer so aptly put it in his Vote rant, it's something "people all around the world are dying to do."