Who should I vote for?
September 23, 2008 6:57 AM   Subscribe

Canadian living in the US trying to educate himself on Canada’s October Federal election. Who should I vote for?

I have been living in the states for about 8 years but maintain a Canadian residence. I pride myself in being as informed about American politics as possible. I regularly discuss and read about the candidates and other government policies. I cannot vote in the US but I do my best to convince others who can to get out and vote (hopefully for the candidate I like).

However, through living here and focusing on the American election I have totally lost touch with Canadian politics and therefore have no idea who I should be voting for.

So I am asking for Canadians (and informed Americans) to help me understand. What are the items that make each candidate an attractive/unattractive choice? I am mainly interested in Stephen Harper, Stephane Dion and Jack Layton, however, any info on any candidate is welcomed.

As a side note my electoral district is Nanaimo -- Cowichan

posted by birdlips to Law & Government (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia has pages on all candidates, which hopefully are unbiased. My understanding is the reason for the early election is due to Harper being part of a minority government, and thus doesn't have enough power to really do anything substantial. So, he called an election in the hopes of gaining a majority. I have to admit I'm not really following it though.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 7:19 AM on September 23, 2008

I can't remember where I found this but The Undecided seems like a pretty good starting point, just to see the basics.
posted by riane at 7:21 AM on September 23, 2008

You can pull some recent electoral results and candidates here.

So to make it easy: just vote NDP and be done with it, as the liberals and greens seem unviable there for the time being.

The realistic alternative is more Harper, who is Bush but less so. Except that Harper adds a certain visceral creepiness that goes way beyond Bush. I don't know how anyone can see Harper on tv and not know, deep down in their bones, that he desperately yearns to fuck children.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:27 AM on September 23, 2008

Harper comes across as someone without any soul. A flesh covered robot. There is nothing behind those eyes.
posted by sandraregina at 7:48 AM on September 23, 2008

The timing of the election is also related to the "Obama" factor; an Obama victory in the states would definitely change the political game up here, and Stephen Harper's ideal world has him in a majority government before that happens. Now -- why is that? Why is Harper scared of Obama?

I hate to admit it, but as a Canadian, I'm more concerned about the US election than the Canadian one. Despite my votes to the contrary, it's pretty much assured we're getting another Conservative government -- the only question is whether it'll be a minority or majority. But your riding is a strong NDP one, if that changes your opinion in any way. (Some people are into strategic voting, vs simply choosing their favourite candidate.)
posted by cgg at 7:55 AM on September 23, 2008

There's absolutely no reason to listen to what people on the internet tell you about who to vote - how do you know that they share your values or priorities in any way? Plus, it's not responsible to vote if you're not informed beyond what someone tells you. But the people suggesting informative websites are being helpful. Maybe this will help, too - the Globe and CBC's sites for the election. And here are the party's platforms: Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green.
posted by Dasein at 8:01 AM on September 23, 2008

Check this out theundecided.ca
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 8:35 AM on September 23, 2008

Harper comes across as someone without any soul. A flesh covered robot. There is nothing behind those eyes.

Funny, I just don't see that. Not that I'd vote for him but who the hell am I? Ctrl_Alt_ep has the right idea. Do your research, which you've already started doing, obviously. Then make your own decision. Welcome to democracy, free will, etc.
posted by philip-random at 9:53 AM on September 23, 2008

I'm an American now living in Canada, I've been trying to follow both elections. Based on what folks are saying, the Conservatives will probably end up gaining/losing a few seats, but things will basically look the same as they have since the last election.

Currently, all the party leaders are pretty lame. Aside from their love of spending, I like the NDP, but Jack Layton isn't terribly inspiring. Without a majority, Harper can't do anything too offensive (although C-61 was really close), so he just ends up blowing money on "defense" and sucking up to big business. And Dion ... well. Yeah. He's the worst frontman the Liberals have had in a while and that's really saying something.

The danger of voting based on party leader is that some MPs are really good or bad outside of their party affiliation. In your riding, it looks like Jean Crowder trounced the competition last time and if she runs again, the same will likely happen. I haven't heard anything bad about her and in general I'm happy with any NDP success, either federal or provincial, in BC because it's a small step towards getting rid of Gordon Campbell.
posted by Nelsormensch at 10:32 AM on September 23, 2008

But your riding is a strong NDP one...

In your riding, it looks like Jean Crowder trounced the competition last time and if she runs again, the same will likely happen.

Yes, she did. But so did Reed Elley when he ran there in the past, and he's running there again this year.

Your riding's top two swings between some flavour of Conservative (Reform, Canadian Alliance, Progressive-Conservative) and NDP. Both the current NDP and Conservative candidates have won your riding in the past, which makes it seem like it could go either way this time. The current Liberal candidate ran before and lost.

If, after looking through the various platforms and the track record of Harper's government, you decide that you don't like the idea of another Harper government, then your best bet for preventing/tempering that would be to vote NDP.
posted by CKmtl at 11:03 AM on September 23, 2008

Here's another factor: Parties now receive campaign funding from the federal government based on their percentage of the popular vote in the previous election. (This is the reason that the Green Party can now almost afford to have a real campaign.)

The outcome in my riding is essentially certain (and that outcome does not upset me), so I make my voting decision based not on who I want to be my MP but rather on who I'd most like to receive that funding.
posted by winston at 11:26 AM on September 23, 2008

How would you vote in an American election?

If you'd vote for McCain, then you're more likely a Conservative voter.
If Obama, then probably Liberal or NDP. In your riding, then NDP is a better bet at the moment, but check out The Election Prediction Project for possible indications that a vote for someone else may be better.

On an aside. If Harper and Obama are victorious, then expect Canadians to joke about moving south of the border.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 2:31 PM on September 23, 2008

As an American who hasn't followed Canadian politics in the past, I found this article, if not deeply informative, at least useful for orienting myself.
posted by PueExMachina at 9:56 PM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I, for one, am sick of the dearth of talent that is running in this election. The 3 main leaders seem to be little more that refugees from a leper colony and I don't want to touch any of them. I used to work in politics, including in the HoC and really am saddened by the lack of leadership and vision that we have today. My vote, a protest one, will probably go to the Greens.

/rant off

posted by Country Dick Montana at 8:39 PM on September 24, 2008

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