On October 19, Canadian adults will vote in a federal election. Their votes will help to decide who becomes the next Prime Minister.
The Liberals unexpectedly won the provincial election in British Columbia on Tuesday surprising many people, who thought the New Democratic Party (NDP) would win.
The Liberals and the NDP are two of Canada’s biggest political parties.
The Liberals were already in power in B.C.; after this election, they will stay in power.
Being “in power” in this case means they are responsible for making many of the important decisions involving laws and money in the province. It also means that their leader is the Premier of the province.
Many people—including political experts—thought the New Democratic Party would win the election. Not only did the Liberals win, but they won a “majority government.” That means they have more seats in the legislature than all of the other parties combined.
The government of Canada had a sleepover, and all of the MPs were invited.
In fact, attendance was mandatory.
What’s really happened is that the Members of Parliament stayed up all night working.
They were voting on a bill, but the way they did it was very unusual—and very interesting.
It all started when Stephen Harper’s Conservative government introduced Bill C-38.
Bill C-38 is an enormous 425-page bill covering all kinds of things including budget items.
The opposition party (the NDP) wanted to protest the fact that the government bundled all of those extra items into the bill.
They say that when too many items are bundled that way, none of the items can be looked over and properly discussed.
In 2010, new F-35 Fighter Jets were ordered by Canada’s Defence Department (the department that oversees the country’s military).The new jets were supposed to cost around $15-billion.
Now, however, the Auditor General of Canada has said that the 65 planes will actually cost $25-billion, $10-billion more than expected. The Auditor General’s office watches over Government spending.
NDP and Liberal MPs (Members of Parliament) have accused the Defence Department (part of the Conservative government in power) of “hiding” the extra $10-billion in their financial reports when the 2011 election was coming up. Some are saying that the Conservatives wanted to keep it secret so people wouldn’t see the real costs and not vote for them.
Now that it is in the open, some MPs have demanded that Canada’s Defence Minister, Peter MacKay, step down from his job.
The Defence Department has explained their position saying that their original estimate did not include many costs such as operations (day-to-day expenses), people to run the project, or a “contingency fund” (in this case, this refers to money set aside for unknown problems in the project). Some of that money was already recorded in other budgets.
Canadians marched through the streets of Vancouver last Saturday to protest the use of misleading “robo-calls” during the federal election last May.
More than 31,000 people have complained to Elections Canada about the automatic voice-mails they received, directing them to go to the wrong polling station to vote.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that his party had nothing to do with the robo-calls.
Representatives from the Liberals and the NDP have urged the people responsible to come forward.
The Liberals and NDP have also denied having anything to do with the potentially illegal calls.
Many Canadians want to know who placed the calls, and they want the party responsible for them to be held accountable.
During elections, people often get a recorded message on their telephone that reminds them to vote and tells them where to go, to vote.
These messages, which use pre-recorded voices, are known as robo-calls.
Canada’s federal Conservative party is being accused of using robo-calls to mislead the public, during last year’s election.
The RCMP and Elections Canada (the group that makes the rules for elections), are looking into accusations that some robo-calls steered voters to the wrong polling station, or to polling stations that didn’t even exist, which would be illegal.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he doesn’t know anything about the illegal robo-calls.