Published on


Breakfast with a president

For the past month, regardless if you are watching Canadian or American television, you would have undoubtedly seen coverage about an election. In Canada, we saw the Canadian people elect the third straight minority government in just over four years. This $300 million dollar exercise saw only 59.1% of eligible Canadian voters take part – the lowest voter turnout in Canadian history. In the United States, the air waves have been saturated with campaign ads from the Democrats and Republicans as both parties spend hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to woo the American people to vote for them on November 4, 2008. Historically, voter turnout for U.S. presidential elections have been declining. However, this year’s race may see this trend reverse itself.

Shortly after the January 2006 Canadian election, I wrote an article that touched upon some of the differences between Canada’s parliamentary system and the American’s presidential system. In Canada, we have a constitutional monarchy. This essentially means that our head of state is the Queen of England. On a day-to-day basis, however, the Governor General represents the Queen. The Parliament of Canada is made up of two houses – the upper house, called the Senate, which is made up of appointed members and the lower house, called the House of Commons (or the “House”), is made up of elected Members of Parliament (or M.P.s).