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07 September 2008


Andy H-D

Pardon me if it's a gross misunderstanding of a CNN article, but don't you no longer have a government to vote for anyways?


I'm in the same boat! It really does suck.



When the Prime Minister calls a new election, the Governor General (the ceremonial head of state with no real powers) "dissolves" the current government until the date of the election, which is usually 30 days after the government has been dissolved. Then after the election, the new government takes over right away (no "lame duck" session like in the US). It's like a recess. It's not, like, anarchy.

Andy H-D

That makes much more sense. I've just been watching The Young Ones lately.

cbj smith

You are, of course, right on the money with the Canadian federal elections. Provincial elections, though, are another kettle of fish. Remember the 1995 Quebec referendum on separation? Lost by a squeaker, and even though there was ample evidence pointing to widespread rejection (by scrutineers appointed by the separatist government in office at the time!) of ballots in areas traditionally against separation, the chief electoral officer refused to fully investigate and subsequent appeals were lost. Another half a percent and we'd be saluting President Parizeau right now!



My memory is that they changed to "have to have lived in Canada in the last 5 years" rules back in the early 90s for the first time, then softened the rules to "have to have visited Canada in the last 5 years" in the late 90s.

Take a look at Important Information for the 38th General Election: Voting by Canadians away from their electoral districts box 16.

That was the 2004 election, and the language was definitely "visited". Elections Canada has changed the language on their website back to "resided".

If you look at the Canada Elections Act part 11(d), it says you can vote if you are "a person who has been absent from Canada for less than five consecutive years and who intends to return to Canada as a resident." The french looks exactly the same.

I suspect that Elections Canada is unsteady in their interpretation of the word "absent," whether that means "has not resided" or "has not visited," and they've reinterpreted it each time they update their voting materials.

I'm not a lawyer, but I say that if you have been physically present in Canada in the last five years, you can vote, even if the forms keep changing.


Hm, TypePad seems to break the Elections Canada links I just posted. Take the "〈=e" out to fix them, I can't get the correct link to post.


Hi Ert,

I am going by the questions asked by the Elections Canada website, which unfortunately seem pretty unambiguous:

Voting by Mail While Inside or Outside Canada

Is your place of ordinary residence in Canada?

Definition of ordinary residence
A person's ordinary residence is the place he/she calls home. This is the place where he/she resides and intends to return to when away. A person can have only one place of ordinary residence at a time.

Are you a Canadian citizen who is 18 years of age or older, or will be 18 or older on October 14, 2008?

Did you reside in Canada at any time before applying for registration?

Have you resided outside Canada for less than five consecutive years?
No. (Although it took me a second to parse that tortured grammar.)

Then I got the response I quoted in my post ("If your date of departure from Canada was five or more years ago, you are not eligible to vote") etc.

Anyway, that definition of "place of ordinary residence" definitely excludes me.

Elli Davis

Election again...is it our new sport or what? Are we going to end like Argentina with election almost every year? :) I am not sure if something will be different after this one - Harper believes in victory, polls show the same, however, I think he is pretty losing popularity these weeks and there are still two more weeks when he can lose some votes more - yes I think he will win finally, but will he be stronger than the last time??



Canada does it better, obviously, but there's a larger issue here.

It's clear that America has now entered an era of permanent crisis of governance. For whatever reason, since 2000, all presidential elections are now split 49.9945% to 50.0054% with only a few thousand votes out of about 55 million cast to tip the balance. The electorate is so perfectly divided, and so few votes decide every presidential election today, that it's now impossible to tell who actually won.

As a result, we've got non-stop unending culture war^666. America is now a perfectly evenly divided nation, with brother against brother, children against parents, an eternal death struggle with meat hooks in a sewer. After the 2000 deadlock tie from hell, I thought things would get better. They didn't. In 2004 we got another deadlock tie from hell. Now all the polls show another deadlock tie from hell, somewhere in the ballpark of 49.5% to 49%. How anyone can vote for Republicans after what's been happening in this country for the last 8 years, I don't know, but apparently almost exactly 50% of the electorate are gung-ho for FOUR MORE YEARS of this insanity.

There's no middle ground, either. The Repubs think Demos are traitors who need to be lined up against a wall and shot for betraying western civiliation to radical Islam, while the Demos think Repubs are traitors who are wiping their asses with the Bill of Rights and turning America into a sadistic gestapo police state kleptocracy.

And it's not getting better. At this point, it seems clear that if a Republican presidential candidate stood up onstage and bit the heads off live puppies, the AIPAC audience would give a standing ovation. And Republican pundits would intone, "Puppy heads are very nutritious," and "America has a long tradition of biting the heads off live puppies!"

It seems clear this culture war deadlock 50-50 split in the elctorate is not going to end. It's just going to get worse and worse, more and more partisan, more and more savagely desperate, with increasingly brutal rhetoric and ever more hysterically frenzied convulsions of political frenzy every presidential election.

I thought this election would finally be a huge blowout in which the Demos won by a landslide and the lunatics on the right got crushed, and the culture war ended for good. Instead, we get...more deadlock. More culture war. More frenzy, more horror, more madness.

It can't go on like this. No nation can survive eternal paroxysms of partisan hysteria. No nation can withstand a constant unending crisis of governance in which the winning president has no legitimacy, and in which the aftermath of every presidential election degenerates into obsessive monomaniacal back-and-forth choruses of "Traitor!" and "Your party is un-American!"

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