Hey, Canadian voter. You've been having lots of fun vacationing, barbecuing and going to the cottage. But guess what? The kids are heading back to school and there's a federal election on October 19 for which you're probably not prepared. Try these sample test questions to see if you're ready:
1. Can you name the current Member of Parliament for your federal riding?
[That's OK; me neither.]
2. The number of House of Commons seats being contested this year is:
(c) very few
[The actual number is 338, but given the power of money and incumbency, the better answer is (c).]
3. The number of Senate seats up for grabs is:
(c) four, the seats held by Ms. Wallin and Messrs. Duffy, Brazeau and Harb
[Any of these three answers is correct, but (c) is more correct than the others.]
4. How many sitting MPs can you name from your home province?
[Five marks for (a), 10 for (b) and a big fat zero for (c) because even Stephen Harper can't name more than two from any one province.]
5. Why are you not voting for Harper this time?
(a) The same reason I didn't vote for him last time.
(b) Because he's destroying the country.
(c) Because he's not running in my riding.
[Your answer is whatever you want it to be, but unless you reside in Calgary Southwest, the correct choice is (c).]
6. Why are you not voting for Justin Trudeau?
(a) He's too young and inexperienced.
(b) He's just not ready.
(c) I can never forgive him for the National Energy Program.
[Answers (a) and (b) are acceptable, but (c) is not. That was his father's doing 30 years ago. Get over it.]
7. Why are you not voting for Tom Mulcair?
(a) He's a crazy, wild-eyed, socialist radical.
(b) He makes way too much sense.
(c) He's not running in my riding.
[The correct answer for most folks is (c), but partial credit for (b).]
8. Because thousands have died to protect Canadian democracy, what percentage of eligible voters is likely to vote in these elections?
(a) less than 70 per cent
(b) less than 65 per cent
(c) less than 60 per cent
(d) all of the above
[Sadly, (d) will likely be the correct answer.]
9. Can you identify any of our previous prime ministers?
(c) Maybe, if I'm allowed to pick them out of a police lineup.
[Zero points for (a), five for (b) and 50 points for (c).]
10. What voting system is used in Canadian elections?
(a) first-past-the-post system
(b) majority wins
(c) plurality wins
(d) the most money wins
[Partial marks for (a), (b), or (c), but full marks for (d).]
11. How many Conservative cabinet ministers can you name?
(c) Tony Clement
(d) I don't need to because Stephen Harper runs the show.
[Full marks for (d).]
12. Which prominent Conservative cabinet minister has decided not to run in this election?
(a) Peter MacKay
(b) James Moore
(c) John Baird
(d) Anyone who wants out before the ship sinks.
[Five marks each for answers (a), (b), or (c), and 25 marks for (d).]
13. What is the guiding principle of the Canadian electoral system?
(a) one man, one vote
(b) one person, one vote
(c) one dollar, one vote
(d) vote early, vote often
[In theory, answer (b) is more accurate than answer (a), but less meaningful than (c) or (d).]
14. For extra marks, write a 200-word essay explaining why you won't be voting again in this year's election without using the phrases "They're all the same," "What's the point?" or "They're all crooks."
Correction: A previous version of this blog had incorrectly stated that 308 seats were being contested in the upcoming election, when in fact there are 338 seats being contested.
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