i am orange, i think

Kyle says:
A minor bit of trivia. In Canada, Red and Blue are the opposite to what they are in the U.S.

Liberals are red, Conservatives are blue, NDP are orange, and Green is, um, green.
This is useful to know! I'm glad I'll have orange. It would be strange being red.

Truth be told, I don't know the difference between the NDP and the Greens. I'll check it out.


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

The Green party claims to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and environment above all.

I've voted for them before, and they nearly won a seat this time around. They will make it into parliament within the next two elections.

Jubileee said...

A lot of NDP-er's who got fed up with the party during Bob Rae's days (hee) have turned to the Green Party. They have really picked up many supporters in recent years.

laura k said...

So a lefty actually has choices up there. Far out.

Hi Jubileee. Nice to see you're still reading. :)

Rognar said...

The NDP is a traditional socialist party. They favour big government, the welfare state and opposition to the United States in virtually everything. At the moment, the NDP has 19 seats in a 308 seat Parliament, but we have a system in Canada whereby political parties are funded by the number of votes they receive rather than the number of seats. This is an incentive for people to vote for their favourite party even if the local candidate has no chance of winning. Your vote always counts in some small way.

The Green Party is a difficult thing to define. They seem to have something for everyone, fiscal conservatism combined with social liberalism. In theory, it sounds attractive, but I doubt it would work in practice. Environmentalism is expensive and I'm sure fiscal responsibility would fly out the window if it theatened some endangered bird species. They do not, at present, have any seats in Parliament, although most people think it is only a matter of time. They had some strong candidates in the last election and got 4.3% of the popular vote.

laura k said...

Thanks for the info, I'm going to read more online. And of course I'll read a lot more once I'm up there.

I am orange. :) Though the Green philosophy sounds interesting and I will explore it.

Rognar said...

I know you have a high tolerance for criticism of the US, but the NDP might even be too anti-American for you. The party leaders try to say the politically-correct things, but many of the rank-and-file New Democrats view the US as a modern incarnation of the Roman Empire (except the Christians are in charge and it is gays and atheists who are being thrown to the lions).

laura k said...

And this is incorrect how...? :)

Remember, I'm so critical of the US, I'm up and leaving. It's the defense of the US that makes me bristle.

Rognar said...

LOL, well, I think you will feel right at home. They might even ask you to run as a candidate.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I'm not sure how much you know about our political system, but it works very differently to what your used to.

First of all, our entire system is based mostly on custom instead of law, unlike the U.S. consititution which is very specific about roles and powers. Our consititution says zilch about the role of a PM (or even that we have PM), elections, etc.

In theory, the Governor General runs the country. She is the representative of the crown, and the Prime Minister and cabinet are her advisors. She's the head of the armed forces, and she's the one who signs things into law, dissolves parliament, etc. She can veto laws. Legally, she has almost absolute power, and the only one who could overrule her is the queen herself.

In practice, the Governor General is ceremonial. The Prime Minister appoints someone to serve as Governor General usually for a period of 4 years.

Canada has a House of Commons and a Senate, but they aren't the quite the same as the House of Representatives and the American Senate. Members of Parliament (MPs) sit in the House of Commons, and must be elected every 5 years, but the Prime Minister can ask the Governor General to hold an election in as little as 3 years. The Governor General has only once ever refused a request to hold an early election (this happened in the 1930s). The party that wins the most votes becomes the government, and the next largest party becomes the official opposition. The Official Opposition sits directly opposite the government in the Commons, and forms a shadow cabinet where each member's job is to criticize their equivalent in Cabinet. The Offical Opposition also gets more speaking time than other opposition parties.

A majority government occurs when the government wins a majority of the seats. A minority government (like we have now) occurs when the government was the largest party, but all the opposition parties combined have more seats then the government itself.

If the government loses the vote on certain issues, like the budget, then a new election must be held. This is usually only a danger when there's a minority government.

The senate isn't elected. Its supposed to be a "chamber of sober second thought", and the members are appointed by the PM until age 75. This is again by custom really, there's nothing constitutionally preventing an elected senate. In theory, the Senate is capable of stopping a bill, but in practice Senate approval is pretty much a formality.

Canada has the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is like the Bill of Rights. However, our constitution has a "notwithstanding clause" that temporarily allows the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be overruled. This was a provision to allow things like conscription in a time of war, but it's only ever been used by Quebec. Quebec uses it for its French language laws, which dictate that French must appear on all signs and must be twice as large as any other language on the sign.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

So, if there's anything to be thankful for in the U.S., be glad you *don't* have our system. It works okay in Canada because of our laissez-faire culture. The checks and balances aren't there, but no government has exploited them much either (our scandals involve money, which obviously isn't protected much in the states either).

However, if the U.S. had the same system, I'd shudder to think of the consequences. You already feel the Bill of Rights is under attack, but imagine what the neocons could do if they could constitutionally suspend the Bill of Rights. Also, we have no term limits on the PM. Imaging 16 more years of Bush.