If you are still trying to figure out what is going on in Canadian politics, look no further!

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The only thing I can claim here is to have found this article. Written to Canada’s neighbours to the South, it explains, in very simple terms, what has been going on in the last couple of weeks in Canadian politics. While I do not like partisan politics (in my opinion they only create disunity and put the focus on proving the others wrong rather than finding the best answer through consultation), it’s still important to understand what is going on in the world.

Dear neighbour, about what’s going on in Canada

By Neil MacDonald

My dear American neighbours,

I see the political crisis in Canada has finally made it into the Washington Post’s Foreign Briefs column.

So, anticipating a flood of interest from all of you at the dog run in the morning, let me try to give you some idea of what’s happening up there.

A few weeks ago, we had an election in Canada, a couple of weeks before yours, actually. A political party known as the Conservatives won.

Well, sort of. They didn’t win in the sense that most of you understand winning. I’ll get to that in a second.

They also aren’t what most of you would consider conservative.

They support what you call socialized medicine, they believe in protecting a Canadian-controlled banking system, they believe in government as a vehicle for transferring wealth between regions, and they’ve actually muzzled party members who tried to make abortion a campaign issue.

In fact, instead of making his Sunday trip to church a photo opportunity, our Conservative leader refuses to discuss his faith in public. (Like many Americans, he’s an evangelical Christian).

Different kettle of fish

So our Conservatives are a bit different from yours. Down here, you’d probably call them Democrats. And fairly liberal ones at that.

But, as I said, they won our last election, which is a pretty low-key affair compared to yours. The campaign lasted a few weeks instead of two years.

What’s more, they won with only 37 per cent of the vote. Now, you can do that in Canada because our Parliament has three other political parties: The Liberals (again, pay no attention to the name, they tend to adapt their worldview as needed), the Bloc Québécois (a Quebec party that says it wants to break up the country, but hasn’t actually done much about it for many years), and the NDP.

I’m not quite sure how to explain the NDP. The other parties like to call them socialists.

Some of their more doctrinaire members would like the government to nationalize or take a large financial stake in things like banks and manipulate the national economy by spending huge amounts of public money. You know, the sort of thing President George W. Bush has been doing this year.

I know, I know, it’s confusing.

Funny old world, isn’t it?

So. The Conservatives won our election and formed something called a minority government.

That means the Conservatives can basically be tossed out of office by the opposition parties whenever they feel like it, which usually happens after a year or two. Then there’s an election.

This time, though, the opposition parties decided to throw out the government before it really even started governing. But instead of forcing another election, the opposition parties made a deal: they formed a surprise coalition and now they want to take power without consulting voters again.

Americans might have a hard time understanding this sort of thing, but it happens all the time in places like Israel and Italy. Wait, though. Uh, wake up. We’re getting to the really interesting part.

Read the rest of this interesting article here.

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