It is the first week of October and we have an election coming up in a few weeks here in Canada. But would you know it? Maybe not. We had someone from the US in our library the other day and he asked if we weren’t really interested in our election coming up because he has not seen very many advertisements. I hadn’t really thought about the difference in the way we cover elections and the way the US covers them, but I have to confess that I probably know more about the upcoming US election than I do about our own Canadian election this time. Is it just because of the controversy that is surrounding the US candidates and their running mates, or is Canadian politics just less interesting?
So I set out to find out just what is going on in our political ring, since I’ll have to make a decision in a short while. I began at the Canada Federal Election 2008 webpage and found out all the information about each party, what the candidates are saying and doing, polling results and schedules. There is even a nifty game where you can take the part of one of the candidates (Harper, Layton, Dion, Duceppe, and May) or insert yourself and run for Prime Minister. You can try a sample version of the 2008 game on the site or purchase the full version and run the country yourself at TheorySpark.
I popped over to Canadian Politics.com to find out more about Canadian politics in general. They have a lot of general information about the Constitution, how Parliament runs and the court system. There, I found out that I can actually vote this weekend in an advance poll, if I like, but I’ll have to track down a bit more information first. There is an interesting change to the vote this year also. You’ll need your voter’s registration card, of course, but you’ll also need picture ID this year to prove who you are. If you aren’t registered or haven’t received your card in the mail, someone else who IS registered to vote in your riding can come and vouch for you by bringing their own voting registration and ID. They’ll put you right on the list.
I wanted to find out more about our local candidates, so I followed a link from Elections Canada to my riding and found information on each candidate running in my area. If you didn’t know, we have a Conservative party, New Democrats, Liberal party, Green party…and even a Marijuana party.
In the US, we are bombarded with musicians, actors and other famous faces prodding everyone to get out and vote, especially youth. Oprah and Ellen and the women on The View are constantly talking about the election and how they’d like to see young people vote. There are huge names in entertainment signed on to play at party benefits, such as Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel playing for Obama.But where are the people encouraging the youth in Canada to get out and vote? I personally haven’t seen it happening, and couldn’t we do more to try to get our young voters to the polls? There is an interesting article about youth in Canada here.
If you’d like books on the political parties and figures in Canada, we have a huge selection from simple election books to biographies of our Prime Minsters. Pop in and we’ll direct you to the section you’re looking for. In the meantime, take the time to read about the election, know where everyone stands and make your decision wisely.