October 14th: Election Night in Canada! This very special event only happens around three times every four years so I’m sure we’re in for almost nothing of interest. Now in order to get his way Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to break his own fixed election legislation. Well good for him, that’s what I say. Look at what fixed elections have done in the U.S: nineteen goddamned months of mostly unattractive people in pant suits and flag pins saying the same things over and over again. They will have been interviewing for the Presidency for almost two years and they might only have the job for four. That’s bananas!
Plus, fixed elections have created a nerdy version of the football-desk style of news-casting that just isn’t working. Have you caught this act yet? They have four or five old dudes, actual journalists from back in the day for the most part, who go over every perceived nuance in tedious detail. Then they pass the camera over to a new generation of analyst douche-bags who pack in their very best sound bites for all of the sixty seconds they’re allotted. You can smell their desperation; this is their big chance to make an impression in hopes that one day they’ll be invited into the inner circle. Everyone in the American election process, from the politicians to the pundits, is shilling for a fucking promotion.
We got it right in Canada, kids. Six weeks, in and out, and we’re done. We pick the next steward of our collective mediocrity with minimal fuss and then get on with our lives. There’s no chance to get drunk on pageantry, no time to snipe at who stood behind what Greek column or green backdrop. What’s that? Harper’s on YouTube tearing the head of a cat off with his teeth? No time to look at that; the election is almost over. We better finish this one before they call another.
When you’re the Prime Minister and you want to hold an election you have to request that the Governor General dissolve parliament. Man it would be cool to see that actually happen just one time. All the members would be begging the G.G. not to push the big red DISSOLVE button. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean would not flinch from her solemn duties, however. With wide, hellish eyes and snarling teeth she would push that button and then all of parliament would melt into a huge pool of vanilla soft serve ice cream.
Speaking of which, who’s your honky this time, Canada? (Cricket sounds on the internet) How did they get here? I’ve been talking to friends and there is no clear-cut answer for people of our age and outlook. Sadly, most people have resorted to strategising, meaning they’re not voting for someone so much as they’re voting against someone else. How about that Canadian spirit, eh? As mushy as the Wonder white bread our politicians are made of.
It seems many don’t like Steve Harper for the same reason we would always pick him last to be on our sports team. You don’t like him because he reminds you of a middle management type: you know, the guy who fails utterly to inspire or make you feel good about your job but will bust you every time you make a filing mistake, no matter how small or hidden.
Stéphane Maurice Dion, who by all accounts is a thoughtful, intelligent man, is unfortunately nothing but third-place weakness on display. I was in disbelief at how the Liberal leadership convention played out. Was it not supposed to be a competition? Was a winner not supposed to emerge atop the pile of defeated? Gerard Kennedy seems like a solid guy but that political ploy he helped orchestrate is a far cry from his hockey playing days of old. He was barely behind Dion but I guess felt that folding in order to curry favour with the new party leader was better than risking getting beaten fair and square. At least Bob Rae deserves some props for sticking to his guns.
Shortly after the convention Dion announced that Kennedy would be his special advisor on election readiness and renewal with – get this – “intimate involvement in all aspects of election readiness and the platform.” Sounds kind of gay but it fits because it looks like those two have fucked each other and their whole party now.
What they should do is get down on their knees and BEG Jean Chrétien to come back. You need blood of the warm, red variety to win elections and it has been drained out of Canada’s premier governing party.
Who else is left? Gilles Duceppe? I like the guy, he’s got some panache but that sovereignty thing is a killer. If it ever came to pass I would have to say that I was born in a foreign country. What about Elizabeth May and the Green Party? She’s got a pretty impressive resume. It looks like she’s going to be shut out of the debates again even though they get a million in federal funds on account of the votes they received. They even have an M.P. now that former independent Blair Wilson of West Vancouver’s Sunshine Coast joined the team. The Prime Minister says that that inviting the Green Party into the debate would be like giving the Liberals two seats. That’s some classic Harper distain for you. He can’t stand the fact that Canada produces more left-leaning political parties than right-wing ones. How dare we organize government representation that reflects our personal views and beliefs!
I think Jack Layton has been rather successful this term. It’s unfortunate he’s got the reputation of being the angry-crazy man. I suppose that comes with the territory of living in perpetual opposition. I think that’s who I’ll be rooting for this time around. He’s been consistently against the Afghanistan military misadventure, he was quite the muscleman on the Clean Air Act, and the skin that stretches over his skull is clear of mar or blemish. I hope he continues gaining percentage points for the N.D.P. It doesn’t hurt that he’s married to fellow M.P. Olivia Chow either, that’s a reassuringly competent political couple right there. Do you think they’ve ever, you know, done it in Parliament? A quickie in the Legislative Assembly perhaps? A little in-and-out during the Victorian Tea Tour? I could point them out a couple decent spots in Queen’s Park.
At any rate this is the pettiest of elections. It’s just power for power’s sake: Harper’s making a run for his majority, and figures now is better than ever. This is nothing but ego politics and serving the country is way down on the list. It bugs me though. If he gets even the slimmest majority it’s a free pass to make all kinds of changes to our country. We’ll wind up going to whatever war the Americans pick next. Rick Mercer is liable to get really audited, with pliers. Canadian movies will suck even more, which hardly seems possible.
Here’s hoping that Canada doesn’t want a majority government. I don’t think Canadians should be telling other Canadians what to do just because 51% percent think one way and 49% think the other. Look at what Bush did with those numbers. Regardless of who wins we should still all be cool with letting people do their own thing. Hopefully that wishy-washy mindset will prevail. It is, after all, the Canadian way.