Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Differences between US and Canadian elections

I've noticed some ranting from people in the US about how in their upcoming elections the incumbent or candidates might be Muslim or born in Africa, and that it's wrong that candidates speak languages other than English, or aren't properly WASPs or whatever, and that they might not be outspoken enough about their religions. And most of the candidates seem be white males.

There's an election in Canada in a month. There's a lot of ranting, but not on any of the topics that I hear from the US election blatherings.

The Conservative incumbent in my riding was born outside Canada in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania of Malayali parents. [Edit: Tanzania is in Africa]. He did not grow up with English as his first language. He does not answer questions about his religion. [Edit: This is common, and not because he is embarrassed or hiding something. Members of Parliament consider it divisive to mention the religion of themselves or their opponents, and about 70% decline to publicly disclose their religious beliefs {1}]

The Liberal candidate was also born outside Canada in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a month after the incumbent. Her parents were Guarjati. She also grew up speaking languages other than English. She does not answer questions about her religion, although she is recognized as the first female Ismaili Muslim to be elected to the House of Commons. [Edit: that was years ago; she won two more elections, before losing in 2011].

The incumbent's not running this year; the replacement Conservative candidate is a French-Canadian woman who grew up speaking both English and French. She does not answer questions about her religion, although she did attend a Catholic school throughout childhood.

The challenger to the Liberal and Conservatives was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, although his Hyderabadi parents had immigrated to Canada two decades earlier. He grew up speaking Urdu, French, and English. He does not answer questions about his religion, but his parents gave him a popular Muslim name.

And none of these personal facts matter to the voters here. As long as the candidates aren't unstable crack-smoking drunken wifebeaters, the voters are more interested in the issues.


And even that doesn't matter. I live in Toronto, where Rob Ford has been winning elections for the past 15 years.

{1} http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/01/02/parliaments_lack_of_diversity_goes_beyond_race_gender_study.html
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