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The Politics Thread
 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:54 am Reply with quote  
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  Dancelittleewok
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The all purpose political thread--whether it be local, national, or international--for your political topics and figures!
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:29 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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I'm concerned about the future of the New Democratic Party in Canada. They were elected as the Official Opposition (which is unprecedented at the Federal level) on the basis of an extremely popular and skilled leader, and then that leader passed away (God rest him). I have suspicions that the party will lose steam under any other leader.
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:53 am Reply with quote  
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  Dancelittleewok
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How is the Canadian Democratic Party different from the American Democratic Party?
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:43 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Canada isn't a 2-party system, so the system isn't quite the same. We have the Conservative Party of Canada, who presently has a majority in Parliament, with Stephen Harper as its leader (and therefore our Prime Minister). They are, let's say, Right-Centre, and so are somewhat similar to non-Tea Party Republicans.

The Liberal Party is, let's say, on the Centre side of Centre-Left. They were the two Prime Ministers before Harper, back in the 90s and early 00s. When Harper first took power, they were the Official Opposition, but lost most of their seats in the May 2011 election. They presently have no leader, as Michael Ignatieff did not win his seat in the election (it isn't a good idea to be on the record as calling the USA "my country" when trying to win an election in Canada).

Then there's the New Democratic Party (NDP), who are much more Left. They have been fairly minor in the past fews years, but in May 2011 they surprised everyone by becoming the Official Opposition (the party with the second-most seats in the legislature). Their leader was Jack Layton, who just passed away.

More to come!
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:18 pm Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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There are two main other Canadian parties. The Bloc Québécois is Centre-Left politically, but their main shtick is Quebec Sovereignty and, in theory, separatism. They never could never be Prime Minister (they don't run outside of Quebec, and that province doesn't have enough to ever win even a minority government), but occasionally would end up as Official Opposition. They lost a lot of seats to the NDP in the 2011 election, including the Leader's seat (Gilles Duceppe).

Last, there's the Green Party. They became more prominent in the mid-00s after one Member of Parliament decided to change to the Green Party, thus giving them one seat in Parliament and actually contribute to government. They lost that in 2008, but the Leader, Elizabeth May won her seat in 2011.

Then there's a bunch of fringe parties that never actually win seats (with the occasional exception). These include parties focusing on Animal Rights, Marijuana, Communism, etc.

So to answer your original question Ewok: the US democratic party is more or less equivalent to the Canadian NDP and Liberals.
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:33 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dancelittleewok
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Thanks, Taral-DLOS! Smile
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:56 pm Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Just to clarify: the U.S. isn't legally a two-party system only. There are other parties; they just don't have the power of the two main parties.
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:54 pm Reply with quote  
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  Crash Override
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Cerrinea wrote:
Just to clarify: the U.S. isn't legally a two-party system only. There are other parties; they just don't have the power of the two main parties.


And they obviously have a vested interest in keeping it that way, so it's basically a de facto two party system on the national level, just not a de jure system.


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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:54 pm Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Right. Sorry I missed that point. Thanks for the clarification, Cerrinea!
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 PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:14 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Perhaps I should, but I just can't bring myself to care about politics.
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 PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:18 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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That's not so bad. I take issue when people complain about how something political goes down, but doesn't actually take the time to vote. But someone who doesn't care one way or the other (no discussion, no complaining, no real interest) then that's cool.

I still think everyone should vote though.
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 PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:26 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Out of my family, only my dad and I vote, but the others, as you say, are those complainers who don't vote. Each time an election comes round the corner, I just tell them the phrase 'can't complain if you don't vote!' Doesn't really work on them. but it has on several of my friends, who used to think like them.

What do you think of making it a law that everyone must vote? (Or, if you've already got that law in Canada, what do you think of it being the law?)

Personally, I'm on the fence, but leaning towards making it a law. I'll not state my cause just now, in case anyone's scared away Laughing .
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 PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:45 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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On one hand, you would force everyone to have an opinion and actually make their stance official. You would even force some of those into actually stepping back and taking the time to really look at the issues and form an opinion.

On the other hand, it impinges on a person's freedoms. We have the freedom to vote.

Plus by forcing everyone to vote, there would be a large number of people who would vote for a candidate for very bad reasons because they just don't care. If they cared, they would vote.

In the US, one has to wonder just how much it matters when our votes are only an opinion poll that influences the Electoral College.
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 PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:57 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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I'm not as familiar with this 'Electoral College', so I can't really talk about that.

But you've summed up very well the problems making it a law. It's certainly quite likely that people won't take it as seriously, but people didn't take the last election seriously, over here, hence why I'm leaning toward the pro side.

Last time, there was a lot of angry voting - people voting for their non-first choice, for various reasons - as well as strategic voting. People who would normally vote Labour voted for the Liberal Democrats, thinking it would be a wasted vote (as in, neither for Labour, and not for the Conversative Party (Tories)) since the Lib Dems are both natural allies of Labour, and a smaller party, and thus have no standing in the election. And then, when we had a hung parliament (a parliament where no party has a clear majority) those same people were up in arms over the fact that the Lib Dems didn't do what they thought the party would do: they sided with the Tories! Too, there was a lot of voter apathy. People were upset with their parties, so they didn't bother to vote, leading parties (both now and in the past) to gain majorities even with low numbers of voters on their side, which leads me to believe that whatever current party leads the government at the time may not, in actuality, represent the people.

Over here, the belief that the current voting system is outdated is a belief shared by all major parties, so it's my hope that making a must-vote-law would, at least in some positive way, change things.
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 PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:15 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Life Is The Path wrote:
I'm not as familiar with this 'Electoral College', so I can't really talk about that.


Assuming I haven't totally botched remember high school history this is my understanding of how the electoral college works:

Each state has a specified number of electoral college votes (based on the state's population size I believe), these are individuals officially given this position (and presumably not biased in favor of one party or another). In any event at best the voters of the electoral college just vote based on the direction the popular vote in their state goes (so for example state's where the popular vote was for Obama the state's electoral college representatives voted for Obama). At its worst the electoral college officials can vote against the wishes of the popular vote in their state. In essence a candidate could get the majority popular vote in a state and still loose the state because the electoral college voted for the minority candidate. Worth noting electoral college votes officially elect the president, not the popular vote.
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