Monday, February 19, 2007

Political Glossary

Whether it’s this year or next, a federal election is on the political horizon. And that means hundreds of thousands of young Canadian adults will be eligible to vote for the first time. To assist them in the exercise of their new franchise, here’s a glossary of helpful terms:

minority government
A government comprised of a minority of House of Commons seats mostly won by a minority of votes in each riding. An efficient way for one-third of the electorate to rule the other two-thirds.

majority government
An archaic form of parliamentary government once popular in the previous century. Consisted of a House of Commons populated by a majority of members from one party. Passed from favor after Québec adopted Bloc voting and Ontario gave it up.

balance of power
Status given to the political party that has the votes to maintain a minority government in power. Disappears if ever exercised to defeat that government.

political spectrum
A continuum of political thought that joins the extreme right (fascism) with the extreme left (communism) when bent into a circle.

An anachronistic legislative body that once acted as a chamber of sober second thought. Now used as an employment agency for those who actually finished second.

House of Commons
An anachronistic legislative body once thought to be the center of federal political power in Canada. More recently replaced by the Prime Minister’s Office.

An exalted member of Parliament who has titular status as a member of Cabinet so long as he or she does what the prime minister says.

prime minister
The informal head of all government ministers formerly described as first among equals. Now simply described as first.

A modern political philosophy that borrows heavily from trickle-down economics and libertarianism. Makes most citizens long for paleo-conservatism.

A political ideology marked by one who prefers a cautious approach to change.

A political party that can’t wait to change everything.

A political ideology that embraces individual liberty and non-traditional approaches to governance.

A political party that embraces traditional means of group gratification.

Acronym for the New Democratic Party, a fringe grouping devoted to avoiding power. Ultimate aim is to be the balance of power in a minority government lasting more than six months.

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