Tuesday, May 3, 2011

People I Wouldn't Want To Be Today

Hey Humble Readers...

I know it's been another bit of a stretch since I posted, and I will give you a personal update soon, but there are some things that I have rattling around in my head today that I really want to talk about.  I have scheduled an Ginevra's five month update for you guys for tomorrow, some come back to see some pics and hear how our wee sweet girl is doing these days.

From tuning in to some of the news agencies based in the US, I know that certain recent events are taking up most of the air time.  And due to this, I'm sure that many of my friends south of the border aren't aware of some major changes in the Canadian political landscape that came to fruition last night. 

Now, I'm not really that into politics.  I vote my conscience, and pay attention to the major decisions and changes coming out of Ottawa, but that's about it.  So my opinions are just that... opinions of a curious hobbit.

Yesterday was our 4th time going to the polls in 7 years.  Our government has had to run federal elections pretty much every two years since 2004.  This has been due to the fact that no one political party has won a clear majority of seats in the House of Commons.  So, whenever a major issue comes up, like the annual budget or whether or not to bring our troops home from Afganistan, the other three official national parties would threaten to bring down the government with a no-confidence vote.  You can imagine how difficult it has been for our elected officials to get anything done in that sort of climate. 

Well, finally, that's all changed.  Stephen Harper and the Progressive Conservatives won a clear majority in yesterday's election and are chomping at the bit to get back to work.  But it was an historic election for more than the first majority government in 7 years.  Not the least of which... Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party has won her party's first EVER seat in the House of Commons. 

Here are the people I wouldn't want to be today... and the reasons why...

Michael Ignatieff - (former) leader of the Liberal Party, the man who called for the no-confidence vote in parlaiment at the end of March, that triggered this election.  This morning he woke up to the knowledge that not only did he not win his own riding, and thus lost his seat in the House of Commons, but that he lead the Liberals to the worst loss in this country's history.  Since 1867, the Liberals have either been the governing party or the official opposition.  Now they are just a small group of 32 men and women, who are shaking their heads and wondering how it got to this point.  Iggy has stepped down from party leadership, and it's unclear what his future will be.  Not only has he lost his seat in the House, and his job as party leader, but he also has lost his house in Ottawa. (In Canada we have an official residence for the leader of the Official Opposition.)

Gilles Duceppe - (former) leader of the Bloc Quebecois, the Quebec Separatist party.  He also had a really rough night last night, losing in his riding, and watching his party lose official status on the national level due to the loss of all but four of their seats in the Commons.  This is a very significant event, as it has been almost 20 years since the Bloc first entered the national political scene.  The fact that the vast majority of Quebecers have voted for national party representation rather than their regional independence-seeking party marks an amazing shift in thinking in Quebec. 

Jack Layton - leader of the New Democrat Party.  (In Canada we vote differently than the US.  My ballot yesterday only had four names on it, the four candidates that were running for Parlaiment in my riding in central Alberta.  The party which wins the most seats becomes the governing party, and the leader of that party becomes our Prime Minister.  We vote more based on the party rather than on the individual representative.)  Layton's NDPs effected a huge upset yesterday, gaining more than triple the number of seats in the Commons than they have ever had in the party's 50 year history.  They are now the Official Opposition.  The thing is, five weeks ago, no one, not even the NDP themselves, expected this kind of an upset, and they've been caught off gaurd with their incredible success.  As of this morning the NDP has a ton of new seats, filled by a lot of very inexperienced Members of Parlaiment.  Heck, four university students, including one young man who's only 19 years old, were just elected!  And considering how much of their inroads were in Quebec, not all of these new MPs speak French... YIKES!  And let's not even talk about parlaimentary procedure.  Talk about scrambling to get everyone up to speed! 

All in all, it was the most interesting election day we've had in a long LONG time, and we are going to be seeing repercussions of this for a long time to come, good and bad. 


  1. As crazy as it might have been, I think the multi-party system is ultimately much healthier than the two party system we have.

  2. I hope Canada will now have the stability it needs. They have been running this circus with your money, after all!

  3. Wow, I never found politics all that interesting before, but you've actually taught me a great deal this morning! Thank you :)

  4. It actually was an interesting election, wasn't it? I like your summary! Looking forward to Ginny's five month update! (Can't believe she's five months?!)

  5. That was indeed an exciting election! I must read up on how things run up there so I understand more.

  6. Wow I have been gone a long time! Just trying to catch up on all your posts :)

    I love that there are multiple parties in Canada, I wish that some of the smaller parties in America would start to gain more movement just so we get a better government considering more than just 2 extremes.


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