Friday, September 05, 2008

A Time to Vote?

Aussie spring is just around the corner, the school year is wrapping up, and elections are in the air. No, I'm not talking about the American November 4th election that will place either McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden in charge. I'm referring to what could be an early Canadian federal election - as soon as Oct 14 if Harper gets the governor general to dissolve parliament this weekend.

I've been trying to read-up on the happenings at the Democratic and Republican conventions and it's just so much more interesting than what goes on in Canadian politics. I probably know a whole heck of a lot more about Sarah Palin than I do about Stephane Dion. I don't know if I can say 10 interesting things about the Liberal leader...born in Paris, ex-poli sci prof, environmentally friendly, Liberal leader for not quite 2 yrs, uhh...ya, that's about it. For Ms. Palin she's a hockey mom, has 5 kids (the youngest of whom has Downs who was diagnosed in utero), has a daughter who is pregnant and unmarried (okay, no more about her family - Obama says it's "off-limits"), lifetime NRA member, 1st term governor, 2nd place in a Miss Alaska pageant, baptized Roman Catholic as a child --> re-baptized at an Assemblies of God church --> now attends a non-denominational church, pro-life (supports abortion if mother's life is seriously threatened), pro-capital punishment, against same-sex marriage, huge supporter of oil and gas development in Alaska, and has virtually nothing on foreign policy. Yes, I know this is just cuz there's so much more news about her since the Republican National Convention and there is basically nothing very stimulating about reading up on Canadian politics and politicians.

Now I don't know much when it comes to politics. I try to make an informed vote when it comes to election time but honestly, I don't really keep track of what goes on at Parliament Hill. I know GST went down to 5% at the beginning of 2008 (which is the only tax we pay in Alberta...yeehaw!) but I can honestly not think of much else the government has done lately. But in the end, how important is the person that we elect to be head of state? I mean, they sure aren't going to be making decisions by themselves. They get stuck out in the spotlight to be cheer or jeered when in the end, they are nothing but puppets of the larger political party. You would hope that the party leader would be a good reflection of the party itself but part of me feels that if I identify myself with say republican ideals (like less gov't involvement and more personal liberty), then I vote for the party and not necessarily that one person. I guess in the American system that is much different with the power of the executive branch...

I find this Sarah Palin decision very puzzling (surprise surprise). I don't find this to be a very wise move by the Republicans...yes, I agree that it's good to get some fresh faces into the government - faces that don't just resort to doing some political masquerade to stay in office. But when I see pictures of Dick Cheney representing the US by talking to Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, I wonder if Palin, this 44 yo small town politician who has yet to travel outside of the United States, is up to the challenges of her potential vice-president role? Then again, Obama doesn't have much foreign policy experience either (especially compared to McCain) and he's running for President. Definitely a bold move by the Repulicans and I can't wait to see how America responds.

I won't be back in Canada for an October election but I should still be able to vote from Australia. Elections Canada has a place where I should be able to go and fill out the necessary information to exercise my democratic right to vote!

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