Happy election day!
No, you didn’t just wake up from a coma and discover that it’s November 2016 and you (blissfully) missed out on the final 13 months of the American presidential circus: I’m talking about the Canadian elections. That’s right — after a “historically long” election season of a whopping SEVENTY-EIGHT DAYS, our adorable neighbor to the north is holding federal elections today. Seventy-eight days!! It’s almost enough to make you migrate.
But before you pack your tuque and head to Molson country, here’s what you should know about the Canadian elections, gleaned mostly from a 15-minute segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. You should watch the segment above, but just in case you forgot your headphones and don’t want the boss to know you’re watching TV at the office, here are our takeaways on incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party and challengers Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party and Tom Mulcair of the New Democratic Party.
Harper has been serving as prime minister since 2006. He’s also anti-science and has been terrible for the planet. To illustrate:
- Under Harper, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, dismantled the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, pushed tar-sands development, and eliminated environmental regulations.
- In a statement, Harper’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said, “Scientists have recently told us that our fears [about climate change] are exaggerated.”
- An unrelated but illuminating side note: Harper said, “There’s just overwhelming and growing scientific and medical evidence about the bad, long-term effects of marijuana. We’ve spent a couple of generations trying to reduce the usage of tobacco in Canada with a lot of success. Tobacco is a product that does a lot of damage. Marijuana is infinitely worse and it’s something that we do not want to encourage.” OK. Obviously the man is not a scientist. Or a doctor. Or a stoner.
Then there’s Tom Mulcair.
- The New Democratic Party leader and the former Quebec Minister of the Environment has promised to “reverse the damage that Stephen Harper has done” to the environment.
- He’s also in favor of cap-and-trade, shifting tax breaks to clean energy, and said, “Liberal and Conservative failure on the environment is hurting our quality of life, our health. It’s hurting our economy and it’s tarnishing our global reputation. Worst of all, it’s passing off a far greater burden to future generations.”
- Hear, hear! Unfortunately, actual Canadians seem to find Mulcair and his fellow New Dems pretty boring: His party is running a distant third in the polls.
So, who’s the other option? Meet Justin Trudeau.
- Trudeau’s main qualification for leader of Canada is that his daddy was prime minister and he’s photogenic. Other fun facts about Trudeau: He once had a obscene goatee and apparently thinks falling down stairs is a good party trick.
- However! Trudeau seems less interested in destroying the planet than the incumbent Harper, so that’s cool.
- Trudeau has pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies, invest in clean energy technology, and protect national parks and waterways. “The environment and the economy, they go together. They go together like paddles and canoes. If you don’t take care of both, you’re never going to get to where you’re going,” said Trudeau. We couldn’t have said it more Canadian ourselves.
However it ends, our congratulations to Canadians for surviving your “historically long” election season. And please, tip out a LaBatt for your neighbors to the south — your election might be over but ours still has a looooong way to go.