I so often look at Canada as a much kinder and gentler version of the US.
I forget that they too have right wingers and are engaged in senseless wars at great economic cost to their nation.
I was kind of stoked when they issued a no confidence vote on their conservatives, even though having to go through elections messed with some trans-friendly measures that were in the legislative works.
Here’s a couple of recent stories related to the elections.
Canada’s massive military budget is off the table in federal election
From Rabble.Ca: http://rabble.ca/news/2011/04/canadas-massive-military-budget-table-federal-election
By Matthew Behrens
April 26, 2011
Among many substantive issues not discussed during campaign 2011 is the $23 billion Canada now spends on war, a massive investment that all three major federal parties will maintain if elected.
Add in the ongoing costs of the Afghanistan war plus undisclosed funding for Canada’s bombardment of Libya (well over 200 aerial bombing runs and aerial “sorties” to date), and the $23 billion figure may run higher.
To put this in perspective, slightly more than $63 million a day is spent on Canada’s war machine. That’s the daily equivalent of 420 affordable housing units or 3,000 four-year full-tuition grants for university students. Over the course of a month, that’s 13,000 affordable housing units and 90,000 students going to university without massive debt load.
It is in this context that politicians preaching fiscal restraint and support for burdened families continue proffering blind allegiance to a well-funded institution whose leadership, past and present, has always been clear: in the words of former General Rick Hillier, their role is to kill people.
While many young people join the military because they believe they’re contributing to society (in addition to those who simply need the income or an education), there are other ways for them to live out those aspirations without having to pick up a gun and face the choice of killing or being killed.
But those other choices are not part of the dominant parties’ platforms. (By contrast, the Green Party would reduce war spending to the then historically high 2005 levels, the Bloc has criticized high war spending but is not specific in its plans, and the Communist Party would reduce military spending by 75 per cent).
In the case of the NDP, it’s likely that many supporters are unaware of their party’s willingness to choose guns over butter. After all, the NDP is traditionally seen as the place where anti-war activists park their vote, and the strongest anti-war statements usually come from its MPs, who often speak at peace rallies. But most NDP MPs have long accepted the framework of ever increasing amounts of war funding.
Continue reading at: http://rabble.ca/news/2011/04/canadas-massive-military-budget-table-federal-election
Canada vote dominated by left-leaning third-party surge
From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/04/29/canada-vote-dominated-by-left-leaning-third-party-surge/
By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 29th, 2011
OTTAWA — A third-party surge has unsettled the status quo as Canada prepares to go to the polls on Monday, with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper seeking an ever-elusive majority government.
The run-up to Canada’s fourth election in seven years has been dominated by speculation over how the surging support in opinion polls for the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) will play out.
Harper and the Tories failed to earn an overall majority in both the 2006 and 2008 elections, leaving themselves prey to opposition parties bringing the government down, as on this occasion, with a vote of no confidence.
The Conservatives lead all three main opposition parties in pre-election surveys but remain shy of the support needed to win a majority of seats in parliament.
“The most reasonable assumption at the moment is that the Conservatives will win another minority government,” Jon Pammett, a politics professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, told AFP.
“But it’s not clear how long another Harper (minority) government will last because he seems to have ruled out working with the other parties.”
Harper himself has warned that a second-place NDP could form a coalition with the Liberals to seize power if the Conservatives fail to win a majority of the 308 seats in parliament.