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An odd political question to our neighbours

StaceyB
December 14th, 2005, 11:42 PM
As you know we are having another election. We are very quick to have our opinions on US politics but this is a little different.
I would like to know who you would pick out of our candidates and why.

jawert1
December 15th, 2005, 12:09 AM
Sadly I haven't kept up much on CA politics since I don't get to go to Toronto and Halifax as often, but if politicians are anything alike, then there will be some well meaning ones and some total shmucks. I will say that the gent causing all the doggy problems needs to go (yes I'm being polite) take a long walk off the Canso highway, but hopefully you don't have too many like him and elections will go much more smoothly than those here :(

CyberKitten
December 15th, 2005, 12:50 AM
I am not an American citizen obviously and I apologize in advance to our US friends for presuming to understand the US system but I have actually worked in it - worked for a candidate or two in Mass and Vt. And belonged to the League of Women Voters which used to sponsor the Presidential Debates. (Many think they did a better job than the current consortium). So, if you don't mind - I'd like to share my experience of the differences in our systems - and how interesting they all are!!!

I have given lectures in the US as well about Cdn politics and vice versa- does not make me an expert , just a political junkie, lol

I assume you mean at the federal level tho the US unlike Canada has its systems more connected. That is, in both offyear election years (when no president is being chosen) as well as during the year when the Pres election is held, almost every other elected position is also up for grabs. So, at the same time one votes for President (or not, as in an offyear - called thus because it is a year when one does not vote for Pres), one must also vote for whatever House of Representatives represents your district, for one third of the Senate and one third of the Governors, state reps and senates - if your state has a senate, and so called lesser offices like school boards, mayors and municipal officials (tho increasingly, these are held are varying times), DA, some Judges, the Mosquito Control Board in the County in Fla where my parents live, Animal Control officer - still called "dog catcher" in one or two counties - in some counties (and counties tend to have more power in the US than they do in many of our provinces).

I was a member of an International Parliamentary Organization and have served as an electoral observer so this stuff fascinates me!!

Thus, when you go to vote, you have this huge ballot with all these choices. In order to vote, you must be registered to vote and unlike Canada, this is your responsibility although many states now ask you whether you want to register when you renew your driver's licence. (Fla does this for ex). Naturally, parties do take come responsibility in signing up members - as does interested groups like the League of Women Voters. I myself worked in a mall to register voters and was astounded to discover that many women did not want to sign up because they preferred not to give their age and others sought a Voter ID card because it was a good ID to apply for a Homestead Tax exemption.

Another difference is that when you , the voter, register, you are required to state your party preference though in some states, you can legally register as an Independent. I must say as someone involved in electoral politics that this makes it very easy to ID voters on Voter lists!! In Canada, we do this significantly differently. We actually pay people called enumerators to go door to door to obtain this information from voters. And the enumerators must go in pairs - and at the federal level (it differs in various provinces), the party who won the riding appoints one enumerator and the party that came second appoints an enumerator. This means that in my rising, one enumerator's name is given to the Riding Returning Officer by the NDP and the other by the Liberals. (At the provincial level - not to confuse you - it is done in a way that requires one enumerator from the party that one the provincial election (not just the riding you vote in) so that in NB for ex, one enumerator is PC (Progressive Cos) and the other Liberal because they are the Official Opposition.

This is also the case for the appointment of Returning Officer, DRO (deputy Returning Officers), poll clerks, info officers, revision officers, constables, etc, etc. In the US, these officials must run for office so that the Supervisor for whatever County you live in has to be elected. And of course s/he has to run as a rep of a particular party and these contests can be quite competitive.

Americans I have met are incredulous and amazed that we in Canada actually pay people to go door to door to register voters. (Even tho the people are appointed by parties, the names are given to Elections Canada and that is who pays them). This means that almost anyone who is eligible - including some special populations like homeless people- make it on the election list. In recent years, we have moved toward the development of a permanent voters list so that you can check off a box on your tax return and be included on the voters list. But that is a work in progress.

In the US, alas, because ppl must register themselves and in spite of work by parties and voter registration drives, many ppl never get on the list. Approximately 40 % of US eligible voters ever register so that when you hear on TV that there was a 55% voter turnout, that only means those on the voters list, ie 55% of the 40% of ALL the eligible voters, a very low turnout. In Canada, because of the govt involvement (we tend to have more govt involvement in everything), a 65% voter turnout means the 95% of the eligible voters who are on the list. Some refuse to be listed like Jehovah's Witnesses who for religious reasons will bot participate in electoral politics. There are other groups as well.

The way we choose leaders is also different. Americans vote directly for President in the sense that once registered, they can vote in their party's primary. So when you see all those ppl running in the New Hampshire primary - which is the 1st primary, the Democratic voters are voting for their party's candidates (Kerry, Dean, etc last yr) and the GOP for whoever may choose to run against a sitting president tho that is usually a fringe candidate. The Iowa Caucuses are the first selection - a great process by which people gather at homes throughout the state and vote for the candidate in their party they want. Then there are all those other primaries - like super Tuesday, and so on. Thus, by the end of the primaries and caucuses, the parties each have a nominee and these people rep their party in the election.

We in Canada, in contrast, do not actually vote directly for the Prime Minister. We vote for the party and the person who has been selected by members of that party at a convention or by direct on member one vote, an increasingly popular option (tho the Liberals last yr held a convention, the Conservatives a complicated one member one vote that assigned a formula that assured each riding had equal say in the outcome) and the NDP a convention thru which delegates are selected by local constituency associations. Since at any given time, only 5% of the Cdn population belongs to a political party in Canada, this means that only a few ppl actually choose the party leaders - quite a contrast to the US system where every registered voter casts a vote for their party's presidential nominee. But then in Canada, we are not required and it is illegal for an election worker to ask a voter's political party preference.

In the US, each state gets two Senators regardless of population while in the House of Representatives, the number per state is determine by the population of the state. Thus, Vermont= - which has one representative (Bernie Sanders who is actually now seeking an upcoming vancant Senate seat), has two Senators - Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords. And Fla, which has 13 reps (and is growing!!), has two Senators. Interestingly, the way the districts are redistributed every two years (we do it every ten) is the domain of the state so that the Gov - if s.he is GOP will have much to say about how the state is divided - trying to ensure polls and precincts that are regarded as partial to their party are placed together to help their party. (even when the GOP is not in power federally). This is called gerrymandering and is kind of a time honoured tradition - we do it in Canada too tho no one admits to it.

I am not sure what else to add except that of course the US has term limits in most states and at the national level so one can be Pres for only 2 4 yr terms. The last pres who served 4 terms was FDR. Here, elections have to held every 5 years, just like the tradition in England and of course our Senate is appointed and not elected and has really no political power per se. Also, to be Pres, you have to have been born in the USA - there is no such requirement in Canada where the Head of our govt (the Queen is rep by the Governor General - and our current GG was born in Haiti.) Our first Cdn born GG was Vincent Massey and our 1st Cdn born PM was Sir John Thompson who was born in Nova Scotia (he is also the only Premier to have PM) the media often get it wrong when they say no Premier has been PM, they are wrong but I wrote a col in the Globe and Mail about that a few yrs ago and they mostly get it right now, lol. Sir John A (our 1st PM) was born in Scotland.

That's all I can think of for the moment - hope I have not confused you too much. When you vote in Canada, you just vote for the party and check off the name of the candidate that reps that party - and we like the US have a first past the post system while most democracies (I like the Irish Republic's one, complicated tho it may be the best) have proportional representation or like France, the winner has to ultimately run off to win at least 50% of the vote. Under 1st past the post, MP's and MLAs (or MPPs and they are called in Ont or MNA's in Que) etc can win with as little as 29 or 30 % of the vote, not necly reping the majority.

StaceyB
December 15th, 2005, 08:56 AM
Wow, very informative.

jessi76
December 15th, 2005, 09:47 AM
I would like to know who you would pick out of our candidates and why.

I don't even know who the choices are up there. sorry, I can barely keep up on US stuff.... I'm so out of the loop.

jjgeonerd
December 15th, 2005, 11:20 AM
As with the other American responses I have to claim ignorance on who your candidates are and what they stand for. I watch the news and read the Seattle Times & PI and San Francisco Chronicle, but none of them seem to cover your politics except for maybe for a passing glance. :(

From this board I take it that many of you don't care for the liberals, which is interesting because I live in a very "liberal" part of the US with "liberal" politicians. I'm guessing the Canadian liberals and US liberals are quite a bit different?/ :confused:

StaceyB
December 15th, 2005, 11:39 AM
We seem to get screwed by everyone no matter their party.

K9Friend
December 15th, 2005, 12:00 PM
From this board I take it that many of you don't care for the liberals, which is interesting because I live in a very "liberal" part of the US with "liberal" politicians.

I care for them! Sorry! :crazy:
They'll go in again with another minority gov't.

CyberKitten
December 15th, 2005, 12:21 PM
Stacey, I have to apologize. For some reason, I thought you were asking how the US system was different and who American voters would support and why? It was late and I was distracted but that is no excuse!! (and I wrote such a long treatise, sigh!!) I love politics tho!!!! :sorry:

To jjgeonerd, I do think there are some differences but not that many - it is just a different system and the Libnerals have been in power so long that they tend to have become just too arragant. For many years (until 1984 ), they were known as the "govt party" esp by political scientists because there had only been the "Diefenbaker Interlude" and a short lived Joe Clark PC govt. They are sort of like the Yankees - you love to hate them because they always win, sigh - and I prefer the underdog.

In the US, my relatives and friends would say to me "oh but you are so liberal". Well, yep, maybe I am - but that does not mean I would vote for the Big Liberal party back home. A recent study by the emminant US socologist Seymour Martin Lipset pointed out that the vast majority of Canadians would indeed vote for the Democratic Party in the US and I think that is accurate. Not that it matters what I personally think - his stats do point to that and anecdotal remarks are just that!! My sister who is actually quote more small c conservative than I is a registered Democrat tho since she lives in Mass, she can cross party lines and vote in the "other" party's primary. But my nephew - her son - took a week from univ to work on behalf of Hward Dean. He was a disapointed Deaniac post the primaries tho he attended the convention in NYC and was of course not thrilled with the outcome of the US election, His mom voted for Bush tho because she could not abide Kerry!!! (not the best reason but anyway - as I said, she is more cons than me - I am what is known as a Red Tory, kind of a unique blend of a conservative who sees a role for government, one of our greatest thinkers on that subject is the British political thinker Edmund Burke whose observation that "evil floursihes when good people do nothing" (he said men but I am being pc, meaning pol correct, not prghressive cons, lol). It is one of my mottos in life!! If you read his works, they possess many relevant commentary even today in the 12st century!!

Prin
December 15th, 2005, 05:12 PM
I care for them! Sorry! :crazy:
They'll go in again with another minority gov't.
I hope so.:fingerscr

babyrocky1
December 15th, 2005, 05:54 PM
Some clarification for our American neighbours, Liberal politics, in theory, are not the problem that alot of us are having with the Liberal party, Its the actually politicians that are in the party and their questionable behaviour that many of us have issue with. It always confuses me when Americans use the term liberal and they mean it as a bad thing, cause to me its a good thing, but a "liberal politician" is a different "thing" all together:) Sorry if that explanation has even further confused the whole issue:confused: :crazy: :ca:

babyrocky1
December 15th, 2005, 05:55 PM
I hope so.:fingerscr Okay, I admit I hope so too, but Im still voting NDP!

jjgeonerd
December 15th, 2005, 06:23 PM
Some clarification for our American neighbours, Liberal politics, in theory, are not the problem that alot of us are having with the Liberal party, Its the actually politicians that are in the party and their questionable behaviour that many of us have issue with. It always confuses me when Americans use the term liberal and they mean it as a bad thing, cause to me its a good thing, but a "liberal politician" is a different "thing" all together:) Sorry if that explanation has even further confused the whole issue:confused: :crazy: :ca:

That actually makes sense. It confuses me too when other Americans talk about being liberal as a bad thing. I suspect many of them don't understand what it means. Seems to me liberal is how the US was meant to be...let everyone do their own thing as long as it doesn't hurt anyone.

babyrocky1
December 15th, 2005, 06:57 PM
I just read your earlier post JJ, I should add, alot of us talk incesently about the Ontario Liberal party cause they are the ones who banned pit bulls and many of us on the board are very active in seeing the down fall of those involved. Thats probably why your getting the idea that we are all anti-liberal. Well at least part of the reason.

Gazoo
December 15th, 2005, 07:01 PM
As with the other American responses I have to claim ignorance on who your candidates are and what they stand for. I watch the news and read the Seattle Times & PI and San Francisco Chronicle, but none of them seem to cover your politics except for maybe for a passing glance. :(

From this board I take it that many of you don't care for the liberals, which is interesting because I live in a very "liberal" part of the US with "liberal" politicians. I'm guessing the Canadian liberals and US liberals are quite a bit different?/ :confused:

In Canada the "Liberal Party" is by no means a small "l" liberal party.

They are a more moderate and centrist party than they are left wing liberal.

babyrocky1
December 15th, 2005, 07:09 PM
In Canada the "Liberal Party" is by no means a small "l" liberal party.

They are a more moderate and centrist party than they are left wing liberal. Thats for sure!!!!!!!!!

CyberKitten
December 15th, 2005, 09:10 PM
I think the time honoured saying or old saying that Liberals campaign from the left and govern from the right says it all. I feel partyless because while I am warming up to some of the ppl in the "new" Cons party - and have friends there like Peter MacKay and other Maritime Red Tories, I find myself in the same position as so many who no longer have the Progressive Cons party. (and yep, it may be true that MacKenzie King called the then CCF -forerunner of the NDP - "liberals in a hurry" (but I think he was not taking into account the Regina Manifesto - I don;t know, maybe he was - sometimes I think Sir John A, who started it all really defined some of our probs (even if he did managed to have that grand coaltion of ppl from across what then was Canada - recall in 1867 that Canada consisted of 4 provinces and Quebec did not include that huge northern part we think of now but anyway.....). Sometimes I think back to a snow sculpture my high school class made of John A for our winter carnival - with the old fellow holding a bottle of whiskey while he debated in the House of Commons (it explains a lot). My point was tho that he called his parry the Liberal-Conservatives. THat's us in a nutshell, some of us being libs in a hurry lol

(It also reminds me - with all due respect to my American friends and relatives like my sister who voted for Mr. Bush - I always send Smarties to my nephew since he cannot get them in the US - and my office manager, A, said to me quizzically - right after the election of 2001 "Youi cant get Smarties in the US????" - Hmmmmm, she pondered... "That explains a lot!". (I am reminded he is a Deaniac, lol)

Last election - all of just over a yr ago, I voted NDP and prob will do so again, and Prin, if I did live in Quebec, I;d still vote NDP, lol (You never loose your vote if you vote for what you believe in but I do understand strategtic voting, If I did live in a riding where there was a 2 way race, I'd be hard pressed!!)My dad, a lifelong Tory, voted for the Green Party because he said so they can get their money from our taxes and become just as corrupt as the rest of them, lol (His dad was a politician and I think he just got fed up with it all, lol) He does not -and I have a prob with this too, admittedly - like the chummy nature of unions with the NDP. I don't think any party whould represent one interest group tho the Linerals are pretty well tied top those ad agencies, more so than the NDP is tied to unions. You can say what you wanty but Paul Martin was the Finance Minister and either he was really stupid and did not know what was going on or else he did and looked the other way (I think of my motto - evil flourishes when good ppl do nothing). Neither option is attrative - plus it irks me to no end that he preaches to the seperatists while at the same time registering his own ships in countries where he does not have to pay as much tax, likme Liberia and so forth. I bet he has soem tax havens in the Bahamas too!! What a guy!! He really promotes national unity, sighhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! At least the NDP - without ever forming a national govt - gave us Medicare, unemployment insurance, the Cdn Pension Plan, the CBC - etc, etc 0- and they were all - the Human Rights Code - introduced by a Conservative govt too.