Election Trivia

OK, let’s get in the mood.

Why October 21?

Unless called sooner (and at least 36 days after the last election), a federal election must be held on the 3rd Monday of October in the 4th calendar year following the previous federal election. Our last election was on October 19, 2015. Presto, we’re off! (Incidentally, Pierre Elliott Trudeau was born on October 18, 1919, just 3 days short of 100 years before Justin tries for a second term.)

Why fall for that?

Autumn is tops for elections in Canada. We’ve held 14 fall votes, 12 summer, nine spring, and only five winter.

Can you take a selfie with your ballot?

Nope. Taking a picture of a marked ballot is illegal. It violates the secrecy of the vote under the Canada Elections Act. It’s also a violation to publish a photo of a marked ballot in any way, including on social media.

How many of us can vote?

Canada’s first federal election, in 1867, had 361,028 eligible voters from a population of 3,230,000 (11.2%). In 2015, there were 25,939,742 from a population of 33,476,688 (77.5%).

How many of us actually do?

The highest recorded federal election turnout was in 1958, at 79.4% per cent of eligible voters. Turnout in our last election was 68.3%. The lowest ever was recorded in 1882, at 32%.

Nellie McClung

When did women win full voting rights in federal elections?

1918, 100 years ago last year. Women could vote in 1917, but only if they had close relatives in the military. (Incidentally, Manitoba became the first province to grant women the right to vote in provincial elections, in 1916.)

Western alienation?

Only three Canadian ridings can boast being home to two different prime ministers. Of the three, two were in Alberta: Calgary West (R.B. Bennett and Stephen Harper), and Prince Albert (Mackenzie King and John Diefenbaker). The third was Quebec East.

If you can’t win at home…

Mackenzie King, at various times, represented five different ridings in three provinces: Waterloo North, Glengarry and York North in Ontario, Prince in PEI, and Prince Albert in Alberta. Political advice from his dog, perhaps?

O Canada

Quebec holds the record for sprouting the most prime ministers, at eight: Sir John Abbott, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Louis St. Laurent, Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and, of course, Justin Trudeau.

Covering your bases

Election laws once allowed people to run in more than one riding. Sir John A. once ran in three: Kingston (Ontario), Marquette (Manitoba), and Victoria (B.C.) When he lost in Kingston, was acclaimed in Marquette, and won Victoria, he resigned the Manitoba seat and held Victoria. He was later re-elected in Kingston.

“Say no to mass immigration!” (Maxime Bernier)

In 1867, 79% of the people living in Canada were born in Canada. These 2,616,063 people were called “Natives of British America.” By 2016 (last census), 78.5% were born here. Though Canadians can boast (or decry) having the highest proportion of foreign born among the G8 countries at about 21% (the USA sits at only 13.7 percent, Donald), that percentage has remained virtually unchanged since Confederation.

Let the first be last

From 1965-93, Cornelius the First was the de facto leader of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada. And in 1993, magician Doug Henning ran as a member of that “uplifting” federal political party, the Natural Law Party of Canada.

Neither has ever been elected Prime Minister. Darn…

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