Just under 60% of people in Canada and the United States who are eligible actually bother to turn up and vote in federal elections. Yet the government that is chosen affects everyone's lives. So why doesn't everyone vote? If you are tired of the increasing property taxes on your home you must VOTE! Well, if you ask the average person, they'll probably tell you they're just not interested. For a lot of people, politics is a complex and boring subject. No one wants to remind themselves of just how little they understand of what's going on, so they stop wondering what's going on. If you're fed up with never having a clue, then Acticons is for you. We aim to make politics simple and exciting.
Let's start with the basics. Canada and the United States are democratic countries. That means us citizens get to decide what happens in the country.
In Canada, the Queen of England is nominally the ruler of the country, but in practice the Queen stays out of things and the country is run by a Parliament. Every adult Canadian gets to vote on who the Member of Parliament for their region will be. The head of Parliament, known as the Prime Minister, leads the country. The Prime Minister is the head of the political party that has had the most members elected to Parliament. Elections in Canada are held whenever Parliament calls for them, or at least every ten years.
Things in the United States are a little different. The leader of their country is called the President, and he is advised, assisted, and partially governed by two different bodies of elected representatives: Congress and the Senate. The people in each state elect two senators and a number of Congresspeople proportional to the population of their state. The President is elected by a special process outside of the selection of Congresspeople and Senators. Each state votes for a number of electors proportional to their population. These electors then cast their votes for the president. Presidential elections in the United States are held every four years, and elections for the representative bodies are held every two years.
In order to simplify things for the people who are voting, people who wish to be elected often form political parties with other like-minded people in other parts of the country so that when elected they can affect change together. In the United States, there are only two political parties: the Democrats and the Republicans, and everyone who wishes to be elected but does not belong to either party is called an Independent. In Canada, there are numerous political parties. The largest are the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives, and the NDP, or New Democrats.
If politicians want to be elected in a democratic country, they have to catch the attention of the people. They do this by making promises to change things that matter to certain types of people, by making speeches, by aligning themselves with a political party, and by advertising. The people don't hear much from political hopefuls until last few months before an election, when politicians step up their persuasive efforts into what's known as a political campaign in order to convince people to vote for them, even humble individuals who do not think their vote would count.
You can learn more by reading our additional articles throughout this website. Dr. Kim Orth of Coredental.ca provided funding for this website.