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Today is election day in Canada. I’d made up my mind not to vote, since both ridings in which I could are pretty much locked up by the candidates I would have voted for. But at the last minute, I decided to exercise my franchise and vote in Ottawa.
Now, none of my ID has my Ottawa address on it. So I went to the polling booth, produced my driver’s licence (with Toronto address) and a letter I’d just received from the Canada Council for the Arts, with my name and Ottawa address typed on front of the envelope. Believe it or not, this was sufficient to allow me to vote in Canada’s federal election.
Huh? Neither of those items proved that I am a citizen of Canada. And the letter from the Canada Council was in no way official; the address was typed on the front of the envelope, not inserted beneath the plastic window, which is the usual imprimatur of officialdom. I wonder how much election fraud actually takes place in this country, given how easy it is for an unqualified person to vote.
But I guess it can be argued that the problem in Canada isn’t unqualified people voting, but not enough people voting at all! However, I’m one of those people who’d rather see a low voter turnout, consisting of informed citizens, than a high turnout of people who have no idea why they’re voting.
Now, this is a peculiar election. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives called it during a minority tenure with hopes that they could transform their tenuous government into a majority with a real mandate. But amazingly, the Liberals have threatened to take that minority away from them. So, if the Conservatives do anything other than win a majority government, they will be perceived as having lost.
It’s unclear how the current economic crisis will affect things. I think the cold, dispassionate economist (Harper) wins out over the excitable professor (Dion) and the constantly-spouting-talking-points Other Guy (Layton). Thus, I present you with my prediction for this evening:
Conservatives – 124
Liberals – 100
Bloc Quebecois – 50
NDP – 32
Green – 1
Other – 1