No Post Day | First Vote

This is voting day in the United States, Canadians had ours a couple of weeks ago.

The first time I ever voted was federally in 1988. It was an unofficial referendum on the “Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.” I decided I didn’t know enough about it (no Internet access) so I voted for the local Liberal Party candidate… they were against it. They also lost.

Since then, federally, I’ve voted Liberal (1993*), Progressive Conservatives (1997), Natural Law Party of Canada (2000), Conservative (2004, 2006, 2008)… the Liberal Party did some things between 1993 and 1997 that pissed me off, so I’ve pretty much voted against them ever since. And the NLP were just too funny not to vote for.

…*so I’ve only voted for an outright winner once. There are differences between the Liberal and Conservative Party’s, but policy in Canada is fairly easy to reverse so I don’t see a huge deal voting for either party. However, by losing twice in three years to the Conservatives (two minority governments in a row), the Liberal Party has definitely been embarrassed humiliated shamed kicked in the political nuts… which makes me smile.

American politics has way more glitz, and maybe even more quality candidates, but Canadians do have far more choice on Election Day than American voters. During this past federal election there were four National parties, with another sixteen regional parties.

…actually my uncle has run for a few federal elections as a candidate for the Communist Party of Canada, and my biological father has run for election a couple of times for the New Democrat Party of Ontario.

Technically Canada and America have the same British-French political roots, but after the Canadian election the Daily Show joked that our Conservative Party was the American equivalent of the “Gay-Loving Nader Fans For Peace Party.” Which is about right.

If Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain were running in Canada as they have been running there I doubt either would be elected. The abortion issue alone would automatically have 66% of Canadian voters out protesting against them.

Something I wrote on [my other blog] last year: “The biggest difference between Canadian and American politics is Canada does not have a cheerleader culture. There’s a clear separation between Hockey, Religion and State in Canada whereas, in America, football, baseball, Christianity and State are all wrapped up into one hyperbolic message which is then shouted out in short rhythmic bursts by dynamic pyramids of young, hyper-enthusiastic, impossibly healthy, ridiculously optimistic übercitizens.”


So my questions, for anyone willing to play along, is:

Who was the first person and party, you voted for?

Bonus points: What were the issues?




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
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24 Responses to No Post Day | First Vote

  1. thordora says:

    Good lord…. I voted NDP-but only because I fucking HATED the PC and Lib peeps.

    I can’t remember. This would have been 96 or 97-I don’t recall much going on, at least not in Leeds-Grenville. Like there ever is. 😛

  2. dame says:

    who: bill clinton, oral party — er, i mean democratic

    issues: education and health care

    *national health care, oh my, it still makes me giggle a little. those dems sho’ can make a girl dream herself silly.

  3. Gabriel... says:

    Maybe this time Dame… maybe this time. Certainly there’ll be no excuses for Mr. Obama, considering both Houses and the Presidency will be Democrat controlled. So sometime in the next four years expect a little socialism in your health care.

  4. scottgladstone says:

    Scottish Elections
    Liberal democrats

    Matter of principle. In theory Liberal democrats is the fairest society

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Holy crap Scott… how many blogs are going to be enough? Any more and you’ll have to hire staff to keep them updated… or just to keep track of where they are. I checked Wiki and the Scottish Liberal Democrats seem to have picked bits and pieces from the policies of the major Canuck party’s… which makes sense, considering we share a similar political background.

    If you get a chance, try and find a book called “A Fair Country” by John Ralston Saul. You can find it on Amazon et al. I haven’t read it yet, but everything I read about it makes me want to… it’s about the evolution of Canadian politics. I know the topic has the tendency to make people want to turn around and leave the dinner party, but it’s actually very interesting stuff.

    “[Saul] also argues that Canada is a Métis nation, heavily influenced and shaped by aboriginal ideas: egalitarianism, a proper balance between individual and group, and a penchant for negotiation over violence are all aboriginal values that Canada absorbed.”

  6. dame wiggy says:

    oh gabe, you hopeless romantic, you.


  7. Gabriel says:

    I really am, Wiggy. I think I always have been. And now you have two avatars as well… maybe I should start using my other one sometimes just to keep things interesting (done).

    I thought you guys already have some socialized health care, isn’t the framework already there with the medicare programs? I think all Mr. Obama and the Democrat Fun Bunch have to do is increase the funding for “medicare”, and let more people use it…

    I don’t think he’d have to reinvent the wheel to have a multi-tiered health care system where people in a high income group would all of their own, then maybe a sliding ratio for user/government pay per health care need.

  8. dame wiggy says:

    g, i have no idea what’s going on with the avatars, they’re always changing despite anything i do. wordpress is a mystery to me. as is life.

    as for the big O on health care, sure, he’s got the advantage of having the policies roughed out for fine tuning. problems tend to come to those who can’t access the care, i.e. having to travel hours upon hours to health care professionals that accept medicaid/medicare. Once again, classic US policy… right idea, wrong execution. Rural folk suffer as a rule.

    On the bright side, the big O can’t possibly fail in comparison to Bush. Wait, that didn’t sound right.

    Damn. Politics aint mah forte’.

  9. Gabriel... says:

    Rural folk get it in the neck here as well. Health care is a provincial (state) responsibility here, which means Canada has at least ten health care systems. Each covers different medications, each has different waiting times for tests and operations. And each is focused on cities. My grandmothers both have to travel to the city for their monthly upkeep.

    The good news is someone would have to work really, really hard to go bankrupt over health care issues. The other good news is it’s getting easier for the people who can afford it to get out of the public system, the idea being it frees up spaces for the rest of us…

    About the avatars… I think you have different WordPress accounts, so the avatar that appears depends on which account you’re logged into. If you have a “gravatar” account then is just adds to the confusion.

  10. Gabriel... says:

    Sorry Kitty, I didn’t mean to suggest the majority here are specifically against abortion rights… Canada is (basically) a country of thirds on most topics, including abortion. As in a third want it without any restrictions, a third don’t want it at all and a third would be down with having some restrictions. So if a politician were to say “I want to ban abortions” they’d instantly have 66% of the country voting against them.

    But outside of the general left v. right rhetoric, abortion as a political issue really doesn’t exist in Canada. In 1988 our Supreme Court struck down Canada’s abortion legislation. Since then there has been one attempt to pass a law regulating or restricting abortion, which was defeated in Parliament.

    Since then there has been no legislation regulating abortion in Canada. The provinces supply the funding to the public clinics, which means they can control the number of public clinics, but in the private clinics the governments have no say… nada. And they never will thanks to the Canadian “law of thirds”.

    “…in 1989 a Bill was passed by Parliament which threatened doctors with a two-year jail term if they approved an abortion when the woman’s health was not in danger. It was defeated in the Senate by a tie vote. The only attempt to create a law limiting abortions in Canada since then was introduced in 2006 by Liberal MP Paul Steckle. His Bill would have made abortion after the twentieth week of pregnancy a criminal act. It disappeared pretty freaking quick, all of which means Canada has had no abortion law whatsoever since 1988.”

  11. Kitty says:

    I had no idea Canada was against abortion by 66%.

    I always vote democrat.

  12. scottgladstone says:

    I’m stopping at three. ExSci is winding down. Edited is just an occasional update. Suicided the cinema one. And this one for friends.

  13. In ’92 I voted for Mel Hurtig’s National party, because I was told there would be armbands.

    I also put pepper on my steak.

  14. Gabriel... says:

    You know there’s a difference between the National Party of Canada and the Nationalist Party of Canada, right?

    Fuck it, armbands are just so totally fucking awesome that I’d freaking join any organization just for the opportunity to wear armbands in public. But with my luck I’d probably end up being one of the guys wearing a star and serving you meals.

    …I always pictured you as a yogic flyer kind of voter.

  15. Kitty says:

    Wow, I totally misread what you wrote.

    Thanks for clarifying. That’s funny, “Why You Never Piss Off Your Canadian Mom.”

  16. Gabriel... says:

    It’s okay, I misread things all the time. My high school English teacher told a kid in my class, who had been dicking around, he was a candidate for retroactive abortion. I always thought that was just funny, like maybe mom’s should be given sixteen or eighteen years to decide whether or not to go through with the pregnancy.

  17. Bunk Strutts says:

    Kinda OT, but I remember reading a news story in National Lampoon about a pregnant 11 year old girl who gave birth to a 14 year old boy…

    Interesting blog, Gabriel.

  18. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Bunk. I think I’ve had you in my blogroll for a couple of months now, but I can’t remember how I found you…

    I think I actually remember that story. I never really got into National Lampoon… same with The Onion. Both are very funny, but reading comedy almost seemed like work. I used to love Mad though.

    Staying OT… the best thing National Lampoon ever did was “Vacation” with Chevy Chase and Dana Barron.

  19. Bunk Strutts says:

    You prolly found me via cross- linkers, like Kitty. National Lampoon’s “Animal House” was THE classic in my opinion, “CaddyShack” and “Vacation” tied for second.

  20. Gabriel... says:


    I definitely liked “Animal House”, but John Belushi — as funny as he was in the food fight scene — just felt like a distraction. I don’t think Caddyshack was a National Lampoon joint, but you’re right it’s definitely on my “Most Funny” list from that era… along with “Ghostbusters”, “Blazing Saddles” and “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”.

    I don’t know what happened to National Lampoon’s movie business, but in 2005 they put out a movie called “Barely Legal” which grossed $15,000. And that seems to be one of their biggest successes lately.

  21. Bunk Strutts says:

    When I was in college, I lived with a “Bluto” (and he might say the same about me).

    Did you ever see “Neighbors?” Belushi played straight man to Ackroyd’s over-the-top survivalist character. Not a great movie, but I was entertained.

  22. Gabriel... says:

    I did see Neighbors… my first thought was “hey, they misspelled Neighbours”. I think I might have been thirteen when I first saw it on TV and even then I could see it was a mistake for Ackroyd and Belushi to switch roles. But it was funny-weird.

    In College I had few, if any, funds so I eventually started to eat my way through the food area of the cafeteria… it was a Belushi inspired epiphany. Basically I’d eat a meal before I got to the cash register, so the only thing I was paying for was a glass of milk.

  23. Melissa says:

    First time voting…
    I was 21 and it was 1988. I voted for Dukakis, Democratic, US Presidential Elections. He lost and the Idiot Senior won. The next election I voted for Clinton and he won.

  24. Gabriel... says:

    I’m guessing you’re two for four since then. Thanks for playing along Melissa.

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