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Chris Brown on the Federal Election

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Chris Brown is CBC Vancouver's National Reporter

Canadians head to the polls Oct. 14.

Do you have questions about how the election process works?

What's going on in your B.C. riding?

This is your chance to ask CBC National Reporter Chris Brown about the Federal election and what it could mean for B.C.

He'll answer your questions throughout the election campaign.

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Comments: (12)

Marie (Vancouver_BC) wrote:

Q| The Prime Minister resigned, thereby triggering this election, prior to the fixed date when a federal election was to be held. Does that mean that we have another election on that upcoming fixed date or is a new fixed date set following this election?

A| There's a bit of guesswork in this since this is the first time Canada has had fixed election legislation. But my understanding is that the clock gets reset after this vote... and the next time would be four
years from now.

Posted September 21, 2008 10:02 AM

Adrian Chong (New_York_NY) wrote:

Q| I'm a Canadian expat. I'm just curious what riding my vote would be calculated into if I filled in an absentee ballot?

A| You need to be resident of Canada in order to vote, unless you are posted overseas
with the government, the military or a few other exceptional cases. In such cases, Elections
Canada has a form you fill out stating what your "ordinary residence" is. Then you can mail in your ballot, or in the case of the military, you can go to a polling station that they set up.

Posted September 19, 2008 12:58 PM

Dan de Lench (Vancouver) wrote:

Q| When will politicians be held accountable for breaking their platforms that they are elected on?

A| I suppose you could argue that we are in the process of holding them accountable -- by having an election. If you don't think the Conservatives have followed through on their platform...you can
vote for the other team.

Posted September 18, 2008 04:42 AM

Adam Williams (Vancouver) wrote:

Q| Why do electoral district sizes vary so greatly? Currently, for example, Calgary Center has 84,000 people to elect 1 M.P., while Nunavut has just 17,400. So a vote in Calgary is worth less than a quarter of a vote in Nunavut! Similar examples abound throughout the country. Is this typical among democracies, or is Canada somewhat unique in this way? Is there nothing in the constitution to protect the equality of a person's vote?

A| What you say is true in so far that some ridings have more people in them than others. But I'm not sure it follows that it means your vote is worth less.

In a first-past-the-post system like ours, a candidate needs to win a plurality of the votes to get elected -- that holds true regardless of the number of voters in a riding.
It doesn't make anyone's victory any less legitimate just because they come from, say, a rural riding or a
more populous one in a city.

What is frequently mentioned as being unfair .. is that a place such as PEI has four seats...with a population of just 120,000, while the city of Vancouver has five seats and has a population close to 10 times that amount!

Clearly, PEI punches above its weight in terms of its House of Commons representation. That is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future because Commons seats are linked to seats in Senate. Since PEI has four in the Senate constitutionally it must also have four in the House. A lot of calculations flow from that basic fact.

Posted September 17, 2008 04:02 PM

Laura Reston (Richmond_BC) wrote:

Q| Over the last couple of years Mr Harper has promised a fair bit of money to various programs and projects in B.C. How much of that money has actually been received in to B.C? While the previous Liberal government didn't offer too much what amount of funds they promised did the province receive?

A| That's a tremendously difficult question to answer and I don't think I can.

Overall, I believe this conservative government has spent more money than the liberals did while they were in power.

The federal government spends directly and indirectly in British Columbia through a variety of transfer payments to the province. Projects such as the Vancouver 2010 venues are jointly funded by Ottawa and Victoria. Most of those
were approved by the liberals...but the actual dollars were spent by the conservatives.

Posted September 16, 2008 04:16 PM

Tanna Patterson (Creston_BC) wrote:

Q| Please, can someone tell the world what changes Steven Harper would make to CBC if he were to get a majority? I cannot get an answer from my Conservative M.P. CBC is a cultural lifeline to those of us in rural Canada.

A| At this point in the campaign, I can't find any specific reference from the conservatives about their plans for the CBC.

Indeed, I don't think the party has produced a full platform yet...and to the extent they have plans in mind, that's
where they would be. What I can tell you is that the union that represents CBC staff, the Canadian Media Guild, put
out a release earlier this month that made reference to an all party Heritage committee report that was issued
last February.

That committee studied the mandate of the CBC and according to the union "proposed what amounts
to an increase of more than $200 million per year in order to pay for important CBC services - such as expanded local radio service, regional TV programming and new media - and to reduce the CBC's reliance on commercial revenue."

The recommendations in that report were not implemented by the Conservative government.

Posted September 16, 2008 07:58 AM

Larry L (Powell_River) wrote:

Q| What law or parlimentary rule is in effect that allows the Bloc to run as a federal party but only Quebec gets to vote? What happened to my constitutional right to vote for any federal party?

A| A party can run candidates in whatever part of the country it wants.

There is nothing in the constitution that says a party has to run candidates in every region or every province. The Bloc runs only candidates in Quebec and for a while, Reform ran only candidates in the West. Until recently, there wasn't a Green candidate in every riding either.

Posted September 16, 2008 07:06 AM

Diane Kehoe (Delta_BC) wrote:

Q| What would be necessary to do legally in order to change our 'First Past the Post' election system into a fairer system where the number of votes cast for each party would count, not just the number of polls won?

A| A number of jurisdictions in Canada have mused about changing the electoral system, but none have done it.

BC has probably gone furthest in appointing a Citizen's Assembly to study the electoral system, propose an
alternative and then hold a province-wide referendum. The Assembly recommended a rather complicated Single
Transferable Vote system, whereby you effectively rank candidates in the order that you like them. It wasn't
the easiest idea to follow but still over 54 percent of British Columbians voted in favour of adopting it four years ago.
However, that was far below the 60 percent approval required to get it implemented.

Federally, I would think you would need to undergo much the same process. And there seems to be very little appetite for that by any of the major political parties.

Posted September 15, 2008 05:39 PM

Shirin (vancouver) wrote:

Q| I was one of the many who swallowed some humble pie and voted for our local bait-and-switch candidate, David Emerson, for the sole reason to ensure that Harper didn't have the opportunity to do real damage by getting a majority government. I was wondering can I, as a citizen, draw up a legal contract to have the candidates asking for my vote to sign that states that should they decide to leave the party and "cross the floor" that my vote be non-transferable and that a by-election be called in my riding that will be paid through the new party's cheque book?

A| There have been lots of examples lately of Members of Parliament changing parties after
an election - Belinda Stronach and Scott Brison were both conservatives who crossed the floor to sit as liberals. After the 2000 election, several Quebec MPs who were elected as conservatives also switched to the liberals. Long time Thunder Bay MP Joe Comuzzi went the other way, switching from the liberals to the conservatives. Interestingly, in all of those cases the MPs who switched were subsequently re-elected under the colours of their new party.

Under our rules, MPs have the right to change horses in mid-stream and the only recourse voters have is to wait until the next time they have to face the electorate. David Emerson told the media a while back that he believes he would have been re-elected in Vancouver-Kingsway. Its too bad he's not running because it would have been great
theater to see if he was right.

Posted September 12, 2008 12:06 AM

anonymous (North_Vancouver) wrote:

Q| I am a new resident here and I would like to know where I go to vote on the 14th. I feel really silly asking this, but I was wondering if the 14th is the Federal election?

A| Yes you are correct. The Federal election is on October 14.

Here's some more infomation from Elections Canada to help you out.

Am I registered to vote?
The vast majority of electors are registered in the National Register of Electors, which is used to produce the preliminary voters lists for federal elections, by-elections and referendums. If you voted in the last general election, you may be registered to vote at the address where you lived at that time. Elections Canada updates the Register from a number of sources, so if you have moved since then, your address change may also have been registered.

I recently moved. Am I still registered to vote?
If you have recently moved, your name will still be registered, but you may need to update your address. Elections Canada updates the National Register of Electors from a number of sources, so your address may have been updated already.

I'm a new citizen. How do I register to vote?
As a new citizen, you should have completed the application for citizenship through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. You are registered to vote if you checked off the consent box on the application, consenting to be added to the Register. You will receive no further confirmation.

Posted September 11, 2008 06:58 PM

paul foulkes (vernon_BC) wrote:

Q| The Green Party leader has been denied permission to participate in the party debates. Is there a certain number of people she has to have in her party before she is granted status?

A| There are no fixed rules for what it takes to be included in the election debate. The consortium of English and French TV networks who host the event makes its decision independently and does not fall under any Election Canada regulations.

In the 2006 leaders debate, Green leader Jim Harris was denied a seat at the debate table because his party didn't have an MP in the House of Commons. The Greens went on to win 4.5 percent of the vote nationally and ran candidates in every province.

This time, Green leader Elizabeth May recruited a former Liberal MP Blair Wilson to her party on the eve of the election to try to head off that same issue. The argument could be made that both the leaders of the Bloc Quebecois and Reform party were invited to the leaders debates without have met the same threshold as May.

It’s also worth noting that when she was the Green party leader in B.C. the current deputy federal leader Adrienne Carr was invited to leaders' debates twice...even though her party had no representation in the provincial legislature.

Posted September 9, 2008 09:37 PM

HARRY BLOOMFIELD (vernon_bc) wrote:

Q| Could you please give me the population of each province I will vote for Stephen Harper and want to watch and see how the results measure up

Thank you Harry


A| Here are the estimated populations for each province as of January 2008. (Courtesy of Statistics Canada)

Newfoundland and Labrador 508,099
Prince Edward Island 139,089
Nova Scotia 935,573
New Brunswick 751,250
Quebec 7,730,613
Ontario 12,861,940
Manitoba 1,193,566
Saskatchewan 1,006,644
Alberta 3,497,881
British Columbia 4,413,973
Yukon 31,247
Nunavut 31,142

Posted September 9, 2008 06:18 PM

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