Friday, October 17, 2008

Did you miss the 2008 Federal Election...

... in Canada?

Last month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked that the former Canadian Parliament be dissolved, and a new election was scheduled for October 14th, which was last Tuesday. In this election, Harper was able to pick up 19 more seats in the Canadian House of Commons for his Conservative Party (up from 124 seats), but it was still shy of a full majority (155 out of 308 seats). Harper's Conservative Party was brought into power in 2006 after twelve years of government by the Liberal Party of Canada.

Prior to the election, the "top" federal party leaders got together in debates in both English and French. The party leaders include current Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party, Stéphane Dion of the Liberal Party, Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Québécois, Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party, and Elizabeth May of the Green Party.

Here is a clip from the English-language debate. Sound familiar?

Here is a clip from the French-language debate. Can you tell who isn't a native speaker in the group?

Honestly, I followed the Canadian election more out of sheer curiosity, a welcome distraction from American politics. And about the debates - I prefer this debate format. Sit the party leaders around the table. Video cameras, no audience. Of course, they all went after Harper. But notice how real things were discussed. It makes our system of debates seem primitive by comparison.

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