Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Politics at the other side of the Pond

I was in Canada last week visiting some client for work. I arrived in Vancouver on 12th May while votes for 39th British Columbia general election to elect members of the Legislative Assembly were being counted. The electorate in addition to voting for the party of their choice were also being asked to vote for a second time in a referendum on electoral reform. The 'first past the post' system has been retained in Commonwealth Canada, but due to minority governments clinging to rule, the question has been asked over the years - should the electoral system be switched to Proportional Representation?

I had lunch with some clients the day after the election and asked them about their thoughts on the referendum and they mainly complained of the same thing - the two systems had not been explained very clearly and they were confused which way to vote.

I left Vancouver for Calgary and at a further meeting discovered I perhaps had more in common with one of my clients than I had realised. He is a member of a local Conservative Riding Association and also writes a blog!


Alberta is solid Conservative, but is feeling the pain of the recession too, even despite its oil and gas glory days. I am sure Canada will pull through this recessions much more quickly than we will, however, of course fluctuating oil prices heavily influencing recovery. Certainly the Canada banks proved much more conservative in their investment models - chosing never to dabble in sub prime mortgages (although some investments were made into US banks) which has meant the Canadian Government has not needed to bail out banks and resort to the nationalisation we have seen in the United Kingdom.
I wish our Canadian friends the very best for the future. I always love visiting their country and was glad to have a bit of a break from meetings to take a run up to the Rocky Mountains.

I nearly didn't post this picture, in the fear it was almost Blearesque.


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