The United States presidential election is still over a year away, but for the last six months, candidates hoping to run for president have been making the news every day. You ask anybody in the States about the upcoming 2016 election, and they can probably at least tell you that Donald Trump is running or that Hillary Clinton is a shoo-in. If you asked any Canadian a few months ago about the October 19 prime minister election, well, you would have mixed results.
Let’s put it this way. Up until the beginning of the summer, I didn’t even know there was an election for the prime minister happening this fall. Is that because of my own ignorance? Probably, but I’m used to a very different environment. All over Facebook I see Americans lobbying for the Republican or Democrat they think should just run for president. The actual Canadian election is in less than two days and I see no Canadians posting about who they want to become prime minister.
Back in July, I asked my roommates a simple question: how long is each term the prime minister serves? They didn’t know. Two Canadians who have lived in southern Ontario their whole lives could not tell me. I even asked a few people I work with, and only one of them could tell me how it works. This is very different from the States’ elections. Even everyone in Canada knows that the president is elected every four years. It is almost common knowledge. In contrast, I had to speak to multiple people to find out that a prime minister term is basically five years.
In a lecture last week, my professor asked the class if anyone was informed on the upcoming election. One person, out of 30, raised their hand. No one seems to know anything significant about this election.
The question boils down to this. Everything I’ve seen points to the election really not being at the forefront of the mind of the average U of T student. Am I missing something? Or is the election really just not that big of a deal to most people? If that’s true, would we even vote come October 19?
Let us know in the comments below.