Well, the rumours were true and the date is set. I was holding out hope that I would be able to vote in the next Canadian election, but it looks like I'm going to have to wait. Probably not for long, though...
The Canadian system is completely different to the American one, and (unsurprisingly, really) closely resemble that of the UK. I won't go into the system or the main political issues, but I just wanted to share a couple of related stories and my reaction to them.
Our local member of parliament (MP) is one David Emerson. This scumbag ran as a Liberal in the last election, which was set to be a tight race. He won, with 44% of the vote. The NDP took second place, with 34%, and the Conservatives finished third, with less than 20% of the local vote. However, the Conservatives won the most seats nationwide, and therefore won the election.
Just a few days later, Emerson switched parties and took up a cushy cabinet position in the new Conservative government.
The largely working class and/or immigrant local community, who traditionally hate the Conservatives, were outraged. There are still signs all over the area saying "de-elect David Emerson". But he was completely unrepentant. He's not standing as an MP anywhere in the country this time around, but is deluded enough to think that he would have won in this riding if he'd been on the ballot sheet. (Fat chance, mate). He's also saying that he was never a Liberal. I'd have more (i.e. some) respect for him if he said that he had changed his mind based on Liberal policies X, Y and Z. But he somehow thinks it's better to admit that he was a liar from the start.
The second story also involves a politician switching parties while in office. But somehow I don't feel quite so ranty about this one...
Blair Wilson won the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding for the Liberal party in the last election. (To provide some context, West Van is a very affluent neighbourhood, while the Sunshine Coast is full of artists and hippies, including my mother-in-law and several friends). He had to leave the parliamentary Liberal party last year while some alleged campaign spending issues were being investigated. At this point he became an Independent MP. After being cleared of any wrongdoing, he joined the Green Party, becoming their first ever member of parliament.
Hip hip hooray! Yes, like Emerson he switched to a party that his constituents did not vote into office. But he didn't display any of Emerson's astonishing arrogance and disrespect. In fact he seems to have the support of his riding, where the Green Party's previous leader chose to run last time as it was the most likely location for a Green victory. (ETA: I just realised that this was in the last provincial election, not the last general (i.e. federal) election). And his actions mean that the Green Party now have the undisputed right to participate in the televised party leader debates, a process they were excluded from last time around. It remains to be seen whether Wilson can hang on to his seat, but I wish him luck, and welcome the emphasis on environmental issues that this turn of events will bring to the campaign.
I still haven't heard back from the citizenship people after submitting my application on July 1st. (This is not unexpected). But I definitely hope to be able to vote next time around. I will vote tactically if necessary, but Green if I get the chance.
The most important thing, though, is to get Harper out! C'mon, my soon-to-be-fellow Canadians...
ETA: Okham just IMed me with a link to his own post. He's voting as a Canadian for the first time, the lucky bastard!