Much as it pains me to bring up my secret shame yet again, events of the day have forced my hand. Today is Election Day in Canada, where all* Canadians go to the polls to elect a new government.
*here I'm using "all" in the metric sense, which comes out to about 48%.
Now, I understand full well that this website has primarily an American audience, and that if you guys aren't reading about hot Vice Presidents or the lamest Garbage Pail Kid cards of all time or some such, then you're not happy. So I won't get into the particular issues of this election, and bore you all with details of the proposed changes to whale oil tariffs, and harsher sentences for polar bears and so on. What I wanted to do here is explain some of the differences between the Canadian and American electoral process, and to helpfully highlight some of the ways ours is so much vastly superior to yours.
In Canada we have a Prime Minister instead of a President, but unlike the U.S. we don't vote directly for our Prime Minister. We instead vote to elect a Member of Parliament(MP) for our local area, and whichever political party has the most MP's gets to have a Prime Minister. The losing parties don't get to have any ministers, but they do get to shriek obscenities at the Prime Minister every day. I'm totally serious. We even have a special room built for it.
In Canada we have elections at least once every 5 years, although they can happen more often if we have a minority government. Minority governments lack the critical mass of members of parliament to provide the shared body heat necessary to survive the harsh Canadian winter.
Like the States, we have two legislative bodies, but we only elect the lower house, the Parliament. Members of the Senate are appointed by a council of the strongest men in the country, and are mainly former SCTV cast members.
Unlike the U.S., Canada has more than two viable political parties. Currently these parties include the Conservatives, the Liberals, The Anti-Masonic Party, and the Wolverines.
We don't have Vice Presidents, but we do have Deputy Prime Ministers in Canada. However they aren't named until after the election, so there's no need to "balance the ticket" with them. ("Hey, how can we win the support of white guys?") Constitutionally, I think their only requirement is to operate the donut shop in the House of Commons.
We have debates as well, only instead of being focused on specific issues, we have multiple general topic debates, conducted in English, French and from the roof of a moving train.
As a rule, we don't elect likable people, and consider affableness to be a major character flaw in our leaders. Whereas if given the chance, I would quite enjoy being able to shoot the shit with either Obama or McCain, none of the party leaders running for office in Canada are someone I'd want to talk to, or even to look at directly. Seriously, look at those guys. Talking with any one of them would be about as pleasant as receiving oral sex from a muskrat.
Because our elections can happen at any time, and with only a month's notice, our campaign seasons are more shorter than the ones in the U.S. It's not that we don't want to hold year long election campaigns - it's that we have stuff to do. What's your deal America? Don't you have stuff to do?
Although we do have political ads in Canada, they're nowhere near as vicious as American ads. Political ads in Canada generally involve the candidate loudly boasting about various features their automobiles have and making unlikely claims of past sexual accomplishments.
We don't have punch cards or electronic voting or any other system which necessitates the use of a machine or friendly robot to count our votes. We write an X beside a name on a piece of paper and put it in a box. The box is made of cardboard. Later, a team of elite professionals opens the box, looks at each piece of paper, and using advanced counting skills, count the X's. We think it's hilarious that anyone could screw this up.