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Election Rambling

So, election time's coming up. No, Americans, I'm not talking to you.

Apparently Stephen Harper (a.k.a. the current Prime Minister, for those Americans of you who don't pay the slightest bit of attention to the massive country generally to your North) went and called an election while I was literally sleeping yesterday (what can I say, I keep an odd schedule), and all of a sudden we responsible Canadian folks have to get to the polls on October 14. Joy. Didn't we have a Federal election in early 2006? Why yes, yes we did.

What's good about this is that we don't have to endure months upon months of campaigning. Limit the pain, limit the damage. However, I can't help but feeling rushed, even though we all knew it was coming. I keep hearing a movie-style drill sergeant voice in my head: "Decide the fate of your country, you maggots! Now, now! Go-go-go!!"

And, yes, we know why he's calling this shotgun election. He's trying to get the election in now when there's still a chance of a strong Conservative vote, because come November Canada may be swept up in the wave of change that is -- sanity willing -- going to overtake the States. Lord knows I'd welcome some change on the Federal level here, too.

Yet polls show that Stephen Harper -- who, might I add, I find to be a total asshat, and with whom I appear to have a fundamental disagreement on pretty much everything -- is still leading. Please, for the love of all that is still good and right in this world, don't tell me that I’m facing even the possibility of a Conservative majority. Just ... don't.



Stephen Harper. Political party: Conservative. He's the Prime Minister. He's an asshat. Really, total asshat. I have, however, remembered one decision that he made that I didn't disagree with: he did not try to challenge/revoke the legislation on gay marriage (even though he may have wanted to). Also, the day I even consider voting Conservative is going to be the day following the total destruction of my higher brain functions. I mean, really.

Gilles Duceppe. Political party: Bloc Quebecois. What, do I look like I'm from Quebec? To my knowledge, the Bloc doesn’t run at all in Ontario, never mind Toronto ridings. Irrelevant to my personal voting situation, if not the political flavour of the country at large.

Stéphane Dion. Political party: Liberal. Oh, Stephane Dion, why must you be so forgettable? I know you must stand for something -- probably something I would agree with approximately 60-80% of the time -- but what is it? Dion is quoted in the Toronto Star as saying, "When Canadians see who I am and what I stand for, they will be happily surprised." Great, bring it on, man. Surprise me. Please. (It is, of course, worth noting that I live in a currently Liberal riding.)

Jack Layton. Political party: NDP. When I'm not voting Liberal, I'm voting NDP. And yet ... I find Jack Layton's public persona objectionable. Those ads sent to me on his behalf that are masquerading as surveys have been pissing me off for months now. The current NDP is a continual disappointment to me. But really, right now I put the chances of even an NDP minority government somewhere just above my chances of spontaneously combusting.

Elizabeth May. Political party: Green. Let's be honest, I don't know a lot about her or her platform, though I'd rather like to. Too bad she's just been banned from the televised debate. (Not that I'll actually be watching the debate, of course, because it looks like I won't even be home. Such is life.) No chance at all of a Green government, but I'd be willing to bet they win a seat or two this election.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
mr_ladouceur
Sep. 9th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC)
It's been especially fun for those of us in a riding that was supposed to have a by-election today. Now we have another almost 6 weeks of campaign signs and campaigners.
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh, delightful.
thesandtiger
Sep. 9th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC)
Okay - that was by far the funniest political commentary I've read in a while. Well said. (I even read it for Chris over the phone since we were chatting while I was reading this).

Jana
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
Happy to entertain. *g*
(Anonymous)
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
Don't feel bad about the election call -- the writ was dropped before 9 am on a Sunday. Even Paul Martin had the simple decency to call it around 11 am. I mean, come on. We campaigners need our sleep.

(Incidentally, for the first time in my life I'm campaigning for a local candidate. We're a conservative riding but we're close, so hopefully we'll turf our bench-warmer and get a real MP in here.)

On Elizabeth May and the Greens -- they're basically right-wingers with a pro-environment agenda. When they actually start winning seats, we'll be in for some interesting times!

In sum, I agree with you almost completely. Enjoy the election! Whee!
mattbin
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
Whoops
That last one was moi.
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: Whoops
Ah-ha. I wondered.

But the Greens ... don't you mean that they are left-wingers? Else I am confused. (Or maybe I'm just confused anyway. Wouldn't be the first time.)
seabream
Sep. 9th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Whoops
"the Greens -- they're basically right-wingers with a pro-environment agenda"
I've heard this one before from people in different positions on the left right axis. I've also heard them called lapdogs for the Liberals.

Really, from my perspective, it depends on which Green you're looking at.

Being concerned about the current and future survival and comfort (sustainability) of the human race is something that a pretty large majority of people can get behind. It is not an inherently traditionally left or right wing issue economically or socially, in that one can, and lots do, make good arguments for sustainability and what to do to achieve it just as easily (and I just want to say that left, right and centre are so not the only positions to take. *unspecified but annoying people*) from leftist or rightist positions. That leaves a lot of room for different visions of what that would ideally look like and how to get to those various destinations. This is leaving out the Greens like the deep ecology people (such as myself) for whom this preoccupation with humanity is a bit disturbing and perhaps missing some points of importance.

The Green Party of Ontario of Frank de Jong had a co-operative online platform writing, exercise in participatory democracy going onto the 2007 election that had views all over the place. You could say that their stated platform taxation policy circa 2007 was less left wing, more right since it reduces taxes in areas that one would normally associate with a Conservative policy, but it does so in a reasonably revenue neutral manner so as to have room to structure taxes to promote sustainable resource use.

It is a fair point to say that a a lot of supporters of The Green Party of Canada are former supporters of the Progressive Conservatives, especially, outside of the former Reform West (Peripherally, going back and looking at the different waves of Canadian political party shakeups, it's interesting the way they mostly (the Bloc being the obvious exception) seem to come from that geographical, though not policy, direction). It seems unfair to characterise the party as being basically conservative though. Certainly there is a recognition that poverty, drastic wealth gaps and other forms of social inequality, and lack of social support and services, whether provided by the state or through other pervasive means (within cultural contexts of course) can play out in ways that have ecologically detrimental effects, and should be addressed. A desire for restriction of trade and extraterritorial interests with respect to water, wood and other core ecosystem components in particular, but also looking at ecological and social justice based trade over investor driven trade doesn't speak to me of the traditional right. That said, there are also a lot of market forces based Greens, (cf.: full cost accounting), some of whom are just cynical about the ability of moral suasion to move business, some of whom do believe that most humans are like that. I'm not sufficiently familiar with the Green Party at a national level to say what level of support they might give to the party itself though, since the mindset of the second sort, can also tend to lean to strategic voting.

As to having seats, while there aren't any MPs who have been elected as a representative of the Green Party, there is at least one former MP of another party among the membership. Not necessarily the best one mind, but was an MP for the Greens for about a week.

Elections and general statements are both things that offer much uncertainty and which I view with a certain amount of distaste.
leahbobet
Sep. 9th, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
Right now I'm not even going to look at the platforms. I'll just see whether the Liberals or the NDP manage to piss me off more during the next month, and I'll vote for the one who pisses me off less. :p

(They call. I tell them to stop calling, and they call five more times. I hate them.)
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
On the theory that they'll piss you off less if in power, too? ;)

I think this is another good reason to be happy I don't have an actual landline (the internet phone apparently doesn't count) -- I haven't received a single call. Yes, I'm bragging.
leahbobet
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
Mostly on the theory that I'm vindictive. *g*

*is but more tempted to cancel the landline*
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 06:17 pm (UTC)
Really, getting the Vonage line was the best choice I've made for a while.
mabfan
Sep. 9th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)
I'm one of those odd USAians who actually enjoys following Canadian news and culture, and I have to say that I agree with you that Harper's not going to manage to pull it off.

What does amuse me, though, is how quickly Canada can pull off its election, considering what we're dealing with here south of the border.

And I'd love to know if This Hour Has 22 Minutes will have anything to say about this.
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, the one thing about not having elections on a fixed date (or even fixed time of year ...) means that even shotgun elections like this are not entirely unfamiliar. And, given that we have more than two candidates to choose from, should a candidate's or party's campaign irritate the life out of us with ads or persistent calls or whatever, we can vote for someone else who still fits our chosen area of the political spectrum.

As for This Hour Has 22 Minutes ... my guess would be that they'll talk about nothing else for a while. ;)
jeffreyab
Sep. 9th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
If you meet Dion in person he is more memorable.

I met him last year and I was impressed by his intelligence and acumen.

ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that. I have the sense that he's an intelligent guy (and really, I want the smartest, most educated, compassionate and sensible person for PM possible); I just wish he'd find some ways to *show* us how and why he'd be a good leader.
jeffreyab
Sep. 9th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
Its obvious that English is not his first language when you talk to him but other than that he is all strong traits.
cszego
Sep. 9th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
It's funny 'cause it's true...

Though I can't give Harper any kudos for finally deciding not to revoke a major civil right. When even the Bloc thinks something's a dead issue, it's really a dead issue. Because there's nothing the Bloc likes better than bringing up a dead issue...
ksumnersmith
Sep. 9th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
Kudos, no -- but it was one time that I didn't want to either scream at him or shake my head in disappointment. (And oh, the Bloc. Like you say, it's funny because it's so, so true ...)
cszego
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, the Bloc indeed. So naive and yet so very annoying. I nearly threw popcorn at the TV whenever Gille opened his mouth during the last pre-election debate. (The french debate: Harper was pretty much sidelined, popping up only to mouth the party line, and Layton barked like a used-car salesman).
cszego
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Gilles. He annoyed me so much I dropped his s.
keilexandra
Sep. 12th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I know next to nothing about Canadian politics, but that the Green Party can even hope to win a seat or two is better than the rigid two-party system in the U.S. Also, I like to joke that Canada's Conservatives are practically like American Democrats, which are kind of messed up too. But the Republicans right now are dominated by ZOMG-RELIGION/ZOMG-GAYS-ARE-BLASPHEMYING-THE-BIBLE, so.

When I turn 18, I am so registering to vote in Canada. Even if I have to take another trip up to Niagara Falls to do it.
ksumnersmith
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC)
Also, I like to joke that Canada's Conservatives are practically like American Democrats, which are kind of messed up too.

Hehe. Funny, but some days that seems scarily close to the truth.

And please do register to vote here! The more sane, level-headed voters who actually care about this country, the better.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )