2015 Federal Election

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What Made This Election A Historic Win For First Nations Issues

The election of Justin Trudeau has been variously described as historic. And it was. Another less talked about historic moment was the election of 10 First Nations MPs. Add to this that a record-breaking 54 Aboriginal candidates put their names forward during the election. Each of these candidates ran in one of the 51 swing ridings identified by Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief Perry Bellegarde. Bellegrade was blunt and clear that the Aboriginal vote could make a difference between a majority and minority government.
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Proof That Trudeau Won Because Strategic Voting Works

Thirty per cent of Canadian voters (over 5 million) have little to no partisan attachment. By comparison, only eight per cent of U.S. voters swing their party support, and thus the elections. A large non-partisan voting bloc explains the 2015 shift from orange to red, where in a span of three weeks, 1.4 million voters changed their mind from NDP to Liberal. This provides the perfect environment for strategic voting to swing elections. After four years of a majority Conservative government elected against the will of 61 per cent of Canadians, strategic voters became a major voice in this election.
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The Left Always Loses by Running Right

With a lead in the polls, Thomas Mulcair fell victim to the Conservative definition of the NDP as fiscally irresponsible and led with a promise to balance the budget. After years of austerity measures, that rightward fiscal turn felt to many like a betrayal of NDP values in search of a few votes. And by the time the NDP started plummeting in the polls and Mulcair reasserted their progressive position, it was too little, too late.
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Anyone But Harper Might Not Be Enough to Tackle Climate Change

With the 42nd federal election in the books here in Canada, now the clock starts ticking down the 42 days until the Paris climate talks begin. The good news is that Stephen Harper is no longer the Prime Minister of Canada. After nearly a decade in power, Harper has left a sea of devastation in his wake when it comes to climate change. Here's the bad news: while Stephen Harper's government may have been a supporter of the fossil fuel industry, Justin Trudeau has failed to distinguish himself as a much better option.
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How We Can Teach Our Kids that Voting Is Important

After getting a driver's licence, I think most teens will tell you that the next milestone will be when they legally order a beer. Sadly they're missing what really is the most significant milestone. The federal government recognizes age 18 as the age at which one can vote in a federal election. Unfortunately, it seems that reaching vote eligibility is not nearly as meaningful as being allowed to order what's on tap.
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The Sham of 'Strategic' Voting

If someone does not see much difference between NDP, Liberal, Bloc and Green policies they have not yet done their civic duty. Note the billions of public dollars that will be spent in dramatically different ways, the manner in which those promises will be funded and the starkly dissimilar approaches to democratic reform, climate change, civil liberties and foreign policy that these supposedly interchangeable parties advocate.
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Winning Seats in Ontario Requires Fine Balancing

As the federal election comes to its final stage, many eyes are on Ontario. Stephen Harper has been a regular visitor in ridings that the Conservatives currently hold, giving the impression that he is focusing on keeping versus increasing seats. Justin Trudeau on the other hand, is venturing into Conservative and NDP held ridings looking for new support. Winning seats in Ontario requires some fine balancing. While there is a desire to figure out what will appeal to voters across the province, it is also a bit of a mug's game and far more challenging than it looks.
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Harper's Conservatives Want to Dupe You Into Fearing Immigrants

What is most telling is that even given the divisive and downright xenophobic campaign the Conservatives have run thus far, they are still within striking distance to form government. This carefully crafted U.S.-style Republican narrative has set Canada on an extremely dangerous course, and one that only Canadian voters can steer back to the right path. From "old stock Canadians" deserving of greater government benefits, to the ridiculous niqab debate, to the absurd hotline dedicated to reporting "culturally barbaric" practices, the Conservatives are pulling no punches in their quest to mobilize their voter base.
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Election Polls Don't Tell the Whole Story

The 2015 federal election is awash with so-called information: left, right and centre. Partisans can find a poll to match almost any desired electoral outcome. This election is being defined by national trendlines. It's not healthy for democracy. The number of minutes wasted and columns spilled in earnest of polling results that are literally worth as much as the media paid for them: nothing.
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Don't Make My Religion an Election Issue

Please don't portray the niqab issue as a Muslim issue. The vast majority of Canadian Muslims think that the traditional veil is clearly a mark of separation, and consider it an element of the fanatical side of Islam. A tiny percentage of stubborn members of Muslim community is causing unnecessary tension between the government and Muslim community on one hand, and between the Muslim community and society at large on the other.