Andy McKay

Oct 14, 2008

Why elections in Canada are better than the US

Passing (mostly) unknown to our neighbours to south, in the last month and a bit - Canada has called an election, done all nominations, campaigning and voted. As I write numbers are being counted by tomorrow we'll have a new prime minister (or maybe the old one again by the sound of it).

  • No one mentions God. It might come by in passing, but that's about it. In fact in the UK when asked Nick Clegg gave an answer that would doom him in the US.
  • No fixed terms, so no campaigning for years beforehand.
  • Debates are forced in two languages, English and French. Although mono-lingual myself I do find it good that it forces leaders to know more than language. This isn't just campaign materials, the leaders have to get up on TV and argue in French. Of course for some this can be a disadvantage and for some - Stephen Harper's French is said to be weak - I think it creates for a broader outlook.
  • No fixed terms. Oh wait did I say that already? Just get the damn US election over with and move on will you?
  • More than two parties.
  • We might actually get a Green MP elected this time. Maybe.
  • No Sarah Palin. Actually she's kinda fun to watch and wonder who the hell would elect her.

By all means the system isn't perfect, lacking things like proportional representation. But to me the UK and Canada's systems of an unwritten constitution, Prime Minister's question time (oh wouldn't you love that in the US) make so much more sense.

Voter turnout: Canada around 64% source, US around 56% last election although trend is to show a drop below 50% source, UK over 60% source.