Bewildering Stories

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Short-Sheeting the Bedsheet Ballot

by Don Webb

Since issue 103 appears on election day in Canada, Bewildering Stories, true to its name, will attempt to explain to the outside world the national exercise in total befuddlement. Here’s a scorecard without which one cannot tell the players. And for the benefit of readers unfamiliar with North American political slang, a “bedsheet” ballot is one that has so many candidates and other items on it that it’s big enough to cover a bed.

The following is only a partial list of the parties that may appear on the ballot. Alas, where is the Rhinosceros Party now that we really need it? Names of party leaders are given where I happen to have heard of them.

party leader official stance in reality public perception
Liberal Paul Martin centre-left centre-right The devil we know
Conservative Stephen Harper hard right U.S. neo-cons Republican Party north
New Democratic (NDP) Jack Layton centre-left social democratic Unions and taxes
Bloc Québécois Gilles Duceppe centre secessionist The other solitude
Progressive Canadian (PC)
centre-right centre-right Bargain-basement Liberals
Green Party Jim Harris centre-left centrist The PC on pot
Marxist-Leninist   hard left atheist fossils Conservatives upside down
Christian Heritage   hard right theocratic fossils The Fred Flintstone party
Marihuana Party   single-issue capitalists Green all the way to the bank

Unlike the U.S., Canada’s “minor” parties often stand a chance to win in some ridings and thus be represented in Parliament. The New Democrats (NDP) and the Bloc Québécois are practically guaranteed a significant number of seats. The Greens and the Progressive Canadians (PC) are likely to win few if any, but we may hear a lot more from them in future.

How will this election turn out?

Proportional representation has been suggested frequently of late. When will we get it? When the Flying Pigs Party wins a majority.

Copyright © 2004 by Don Webb for Bewildering Stories

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