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October 19, 2015

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I'm not an expert on current Canadian politics. But I may be able to speak to your final paragraph.

Our campaigns aren't really that much longer. If you take the time between the primaries and the general election.

It's just that Canada (and other Parliamentary countries) don't go thru the same kind of "pick our party's candidates" process that we do. The party leaders (who will be essentially vying for Prime Minister) get picked way earlier than the "start" of the campaign. Just not with the kind of popular campaigning and popular voting that we associate with primary elections.

Basic story: All three parties were neck and neck. Then the Conservatives decided to play the culture card by launching an attack on the wearing of the niqab. English-Canada doesn't care much about this, but it is a big thing in Quebec. Conservatives and Liberals came out in favour of banning niqabs from citizenship ceremonies. The NDP, who until then were well in the lead in Quebec, opposed that idea. The result was a sharp drop in NDP support in Quebec, and a boost in Liberal support. This produced a drop of a few percentage points nationwide for the NDP in favour of Liberals. At that point, wavering 'Anyone but the Conservatives' voters detected Liberal momentum, and decided that the best way to get rid of Harper was by voting Liberal. This then further accelerated the Liberal momentum. The irony, then, is that quite a successful Conservative ploy in Quebec has ended up possibly defeating the Conservatives nationally by ending the 3-way split (on which the Conservatives relied to win).

At least that's how it looks a few hours before polls close. The pollsters have got a number of provincial elections here wrong recently, so we must wait for the results to see if any of the above is actually true.

Are the conservatives really going to improve their performance by campaigning with crack-smoking drunk-driving staffer-assaulting ex-mayor Rob Ford?

Yes.

If Ford was an American and entered the Republican Presidential primary this morning, he would shoot to a 22% share in the polls, neck and neck with Carson.

His campaign platform would consist solely of farting explosively every time the name Barack Obama was mentioned, and Trump would immediately go after Ford on Twitter and rip him for insufficient flatus.

"The American people want the loudest, smelliest farter for Republican President," Trump would heckle, "and I, Donald Trump, am the best farter in the country. I've ended marriages with the Krakatoa of farts. let me tell you. Ford's an amateur."

His wives would applaud and Trump's poll numbers would soar again among right-wingers in the know.

The one and only spending cut the President should demand during the debt default horse trading is to get rid of Secret Service protection for Republican candidates:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/ben-carson-donald-trump-secret-service

Especially for Carson, whose mother built his bones by receiving food stamps, the welfare queen, who once again in his life wants to suck government teat.

Who are they afraid that they demand gummint protection? The American people? Who THEY favor arming to the teeth?

Any crank that says this: "I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away."

.... ought to learn to stop bullets with his teeth so he can test his certainties.

Count: no worries, their skulls are clearly made of impervium.

No actual heart, also, too.

wj:

That's a really good point that I never thought of before. Who votes for the heads of parties in a parliamentary system? In the US, the total pool of possible primary voters is nearly the same size as the pool of all voters; I don't even know who gets to vote for party leader in Canadian parties.

I don't know specifically about Canada. But typically either just the party's members of Parliament, or all those who are formal (dues-paying) party members, or maybe just the attendees at the party's annual(?) conference. (See, for reference, the ploy at the latest UK Labour Party conference, where one of the candidates got a whole lot of new people to sign up . . . and therefore to vote for him.)

A bit of unfortunate timing on those polls. If Harper had waited a month, he might have taken credit for the Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series. (Assuming, of course, that they do. But tonight they looked really good.)

You may think it's ridiculous for a politician to take credit for an athletic contest win. ut anybody want to bet how many seconds it will be, if Toronto wins, before Obama gets denounced for making America so weak that some bunch of furriners can take the World Series?

CBC is now predicting that the Liberals will have a flat-out majority, not a coalition government.

Who votes for the heads of parties in a parliamentary system?

Party members, in a variety of electoral mechanisms. For example in the recent leadership election in the British Labour Party, the method of voting was Instant Run-off, all party members (you have to pay a nominal subscription) had one vote, but candidates had to be nominated by 15% of the MPs. Different parties do it differently, the methods are changed frequently, and I'm sure it's quite different in Canada.

The things that distinguish everywhere else from the United States in this are 1. Party membership actually means something: you pony up a few quid and get a membership card which not only enables to to vote in selecting candidates but to attend monthly meetings of your local party to discuss policies and electoral tactics; 2. The way that the dominance of things called the Republican and Democratic Parties (which are quite different things over the medium term) operate as an unwritten part of the Constitution just doesn't happen anywhere else. Parties rise and fall and sometimes rise again after a bit. The idea that two ill-defined bureaucracies would necessarily have a stranglehold on the electoral process forever is quite alien. True, the British Conservative Party in its present form dates to the middle of the 19th century, but even they know they aren't immortal. The Canadian political landscape has changed beyond recognition since I was a kid in the 60s.

Incoming Canadian Government Plans to Legalize Marijuana: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the next prime minister, promises to "get started on that right away."

Charles, the Canadians have always seemed relatively sensible people. Although compared to a lot of folks down here, that's a pretty low bar.

The things that distinguish everywhere else from the United States
Is it "everywhere else" or is it "Europe and the non-US Anglosphere"? I remember thinking that nearly all other republics were parliamentary, but, actually, most of them in the Americas have something more like a presidential-congressional system. And they often have various problems associated with that, but it's what they are.

nearly all other republics

...there should be an "and constitutional monarchies" understood in there.

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