Last night Allan and I got our first view of parliamentary democracy, and it was fascinating.
Before we moved, people tried to explain the parliamentary system to me, but I never really understood it. But living here, reading the newspaper every day, and now, seeing a call for an election and the fall of a government, brought it all into focus.
Peter Mansbridge and the CBC team helped a lot, too. Few viewers could have learned as much as we did last night. We were chuckling over seven weeks being called "a long campaign". Of course, when a government is in power for 17 months, you can't have an eight-month election campaign. More generally, the CBC rocks. A news show with context: imagine that.
Here's a question we haven't had answered yet. We've heard (repeatedly) that this was the first time in 25 years that a government has fallen on a strict no-confidence vote. Got it. So how else does a government fall? What other circumstances lead to an election?
I don't have a lot to say about the personalities involved. Paul Martin is Clintonian in his constant jocularity, Stephen Harper is a talking mannequin, I continue to admire Jack Layton, and the longer I live here, the more negative my view of the Bloc Quebecois grows.
Unlike many Canadians, I'm looking forward to this campaign. It will be very educational.