Despite all the work we have done here at CanadianCrossing.com, we have a strong feeling many Americans learned there was an election in Canada thanks to "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver."
For those who aren't familiar with the HBO series, Oliver takes elements from his time on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" but adds a 12-15 minute rant on a topic each week.
Sunday night, John Oliver took out the Canadian election and introduced us to the 3 primary players, mocking each of them in a cheeky manner.
Oliver has an advantage of knowing the Canadian parliamentary system since he is from England.
The conclusion of the rant took us to what had previously been the minutia of Canadian law. For those who have been following our coverage, Sarah Silverman had technically violated Section 331 of the Canada Elections Act when she sent out a tweet saying Canadians should vote for Mira Oreck, the NDP candidate in the Vancouver-Granville riding in British Columbia.
Oreck received 26.9% of the vote to finish second to Liberal candidate Jody Wilson-Raybould, who got 43.9% of the vote.
Section 331 of the Canada Elections Act:
No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate unless the person is (a) a Canadian citizen; or (b) a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Oliver was hinting that Canadians should not vote for Stephen Harper, an action that would also violate Section 331 of the Canada Elections Act. He noted that the potential punishment was a $5,000 fine or 6 months in jail or both.
"You think I'm scared of six months in a Canadian prison? What's that — six months of living in Ottawa? As for your $5,000 fine, I simply can't imagine a better way to spend 5,000 Canadian dollars."
Somehow Oliver and the show got $5,000 in Canadian cash and made it rain.
"But if telling you not to vote for Stephen Harper is going to cost me $5,000, I'm going to get my money's worth. And I'm going to do it in the most Canadian way possible."
Canadian Mike Myers dressed as a mountie on a snowplow. A beaver played the piano. A moose got a colonoscopy thanks to Canada's single-payer health care system.
As it turns out, Oliver, Silverman, nor your humble narrator are going to jail or paying a fine.
"The expression of personal political views by Canadians or non-Canadians as to which parties or candidates they support is not an offence under the Act," said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright. "This also applies to Mr. Oliver."
Expressing a view is OK. The law, on the books since the 1920s, applies to inducement or financial incentive. None of us have clearly done so.
In the end, Oliver got his wish. Stephen Harper is out as prime minister. Justin Trudeau will take over as prime minister when the transition is complete.
One last request to Oliver and the folks at "Last Week Tonight": Can I take that Canadian cash off your hands?