OK – time to get a bit serious here. For those of you that don’t know (and I’m sure there are some Canadians among you), today is Election Day in Canada. If it seems like it’s come around again rather quickly (for those of you that were paying attention!), that’s because it has – the last government was a minority government and a non-confidence vote was called, hence the early election.
And I have to say that despite being Canadian, that is all I know about it. I had even forgotten that there was an election in Canada until Richard looked up my friend Carla’s blog and found a posting on it. Mom did tell me the last time I spoke to her, but it slipped my mind. Which is a shame, since if the Conservatives win, it’ll be the first time in history that Canada has a Prime Mininster from western Canada – Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party, is from Calgary.
I do feel guilty that I don’t stay in touch with Canadian politics – mind you, I didn’t really stay in touch with Canadian politics when I lived there, except for the bits that concerned me. I do feel that I’m more politically aware since I’ve been living in the UK, but that may also be because Richard is rather aware of political trends, and, hey – I live with the guy. I’ve got to pick up on some things…
But that did get me thinking – who do I owe my allegiance to?
Sure, I have a Canadian passport, and those who know me know that I am quite proud to be Canadian (cue beer advert here…). But – I live in the UK. I pay taxes here. I contribute to the education of UK young people. I drive on the left side of the road. I still haven’t got used to warm beer (or beer of any sort, really…) but I think that’s probably a minor point. I can sing ‘God Save the Queen’ and I attend a Church of England church. I’m even contemplating becoming a clergy-person in said church. Any of my Canadian friends can tell you that my vocabulary is slowly changing, even if my accent isn’t. I think I officially got rid of the last t-shirt I bought in Canada last week. So why do I need to vote in the Canadian election?
I can see the argument – I have a duty to do so because that’s where I was born, and I should take responsibility for the running of ‘my’ country. But who am I to stick my nose in? I hear a very bitty version of the political situation when I talk to my parents (the recent BSE situation and the political reaction to it hit them rather hard, being cattle farmers) but as to the wider views, I really haven’t a clue. So what right do I have to put my two cents in and vote? I will say that I vote regulary here in the UK – being a member of the Commonwealth I don’t have to wait for a passport to do this – and I do think that those people who don’t vote have no right to complain about the government. But I do it because it’s relevant to my life right now, not my parent’s lives or a life I had five years ago.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking the people like Carla who keep abreast of the political situation in their home country and vote regularly there. But I can’t see the relevance it has to my life here and now. To me it’s holding onto the past, and I’ve got a pretty good present and future to look forward to, thank-you-very-much.
Just one thing I’m annoyed with – it’s going to cost me Â£312 to become a British citizen. That includes the test to demonstrate knowledge of life in the UK (Â£34) and the book you need to pass it (Â£9.99). And yes, they make you go through the citizenship ceremony, and then make you pay for it…
Canadian Election Results:
This means the Conservatives form the new government, but it, too is a minority government. It also means that an MP from Alberta is PM for the first time ever…