Week 2

Well, I’m sitting here in Prince Albert, SK watching the election results for the American election. A week ago, I was in the capital of Canada; Ottawa, the hub of all political happenings for Canada. However, the recent media coverage of the American election has overshadowed our own political events. It was only three weeks ago, we had our own national election. Less than a week ago, our government appointed 38 Conservative cabinet ministers, the most in years. How many Americans could name the leaders of the five main Canadian political parties, while we, in Canada, know the names of the two presidential leaders, their running mates, their spouses, and how many houses they own. Somehow our political news seems to pale in comparison to the historical US election that will affect us in Canada. Maybe that’s why we are fixated to this presidential race.

A recent Environics survey reported by the CBC said that, “Fifteen per cent of Canadians would give up their ballot in Canada’s next federal election to vote in the U.S. election.” Wow! Some might wonder why I’m venturing into politics on this blog. But I believe it is important to us to teach our youth about the importance of politics and how the American political scenery influences our Canadian economy (the recent sub-prime bailout and market drop), our foreign policy (Canadian troops in Afghanistan), to just name a few.

It’s the Message, Stupid: What Really Matters in American Politics examines the strategies that both the Democrats and Republicans use to spin the message. This week, I would like our eTeachers and eStudents alike to consider a variety of questions with regard to the election. It is important that we think about this topic from a variety of perspectives, in order to develop a well-rounded understanding of politics, both Canadian and American.

1) What are the implications of the USA possibly electing an African American president or a female Vice President? How has the USA been able to move past race and gender issues to embrace change from traditional voting patterns? What would it take for Canada to elect a First Nations Prime Minister? What would need to change to make that happen? Write a blog expressing an opinion on this.

2) Is the message the most important aspect, or is it the experience or character of the leader that determines who should be elected? After viewing the Discovery video, produce a sixty second video with your webcam and post it on Youtube stating your opinion about whether the message is the most important or something else.

3) Watch the SNL video of the Obama vs. McCain debate poking a little fun at the event. Produce a viral video with your cellphone or webcam putting a humorous spin on politics as you see it playing out. Keep it clean!

4) Read the article: Obama: A Full Partnership with Indian Country and discuss the position of Barack Obama towards Native Americans and how it compares or differs from Canadian political attitudes or platforms towards our First Nations people. Discuss your response with another person.

5) Respond to the CBC quote of 15% of Canadians wishing to vote in the American election by writing a paragraph stating your position: Agree or Disagree. Why or why not?

Hope you give some thought to this topic. See you next week.

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