Who wins, who loses…..
By the time you read this, voting in the Canadian federal election will already be over in some parts of the country. Even though all polling stations across the country close at 7pm, which is local time. This means that – usually – by the time the last voter in the west has voted, the government of Canada has already been decided by the most populous provinces in the east.
Those provinces: Ontario and Quebec. The irony of those two provinces deciding the fate of the nations is not lost on me. Quebec’s most vocal party federally (or so it seems via the airwaves) is Bloc Quebecois whose sole mandate, as far back as I can remember, is to have Quebec separate from Canada and be declared a separate nation.
Long and arduous “debates”, “discussions”, “referenda”, ad naueum as the politicians there try to have their cake and eat it too. So far, Quebec is still very much a part of Canada. When Prime Minister Harper called today’s election, the Bloc held 51 seats out of a total 308 in the parliament – a de facto opposition. The irony? The Bloc Quebecois is the ONLY federal party that runs candidates in only one province: Quebec. Last election in 2006, Harper’s Tories made inroads in Quebec, and he is hoping to increase representation this time.
Calling election results ahead of time is a mug’s game, as is going by any pre-election or exit polls. However, I can safely say that I believe we shall have another minority government; maybe slightly different distribution of seats, but a minority just the same.
Elections Canada and all the major media have been ever so ‘helpful’ in their efforts to educate us, the election-weary public. Without all the virulent scandals of our neighbours to the south, I have nevertheless found this election challenging.
Why? Glad you asked. First, Stephen Harper broke his own law when he called this election. Yes, elections are supposed to be every four years, but Harper put into law (you know. set in concrete), a specific date before which Canadians could go about their every day business not worrying about imminent election onslaught. One point that jumped out at me during this sonorous campaign. Harper always calls us “average Canadians”, and I almost fell off my chair when I heard the leader of the Liberals actually refer to the population as “every day Canadians”. There’s a shocker. No longer am I just “average!
For the first time ever, this election I have done three things that never would have occurred to me, prior to now. 1) I seriously considered NOT voting at all. Settle down, I did vote. BUT, to get it over with, I held my nose and voted in the advance polls last weekend; just to get my civic duty over with. That is point number 2.
Point number 3? Rather than voting FOR a candidate, a party or a policy/principle, this time I cast my vote AGAINST the whole lot of the major, mainstream parties. Do I feel good about that decision? No, I do not, but not ONE candidate or party earned my vote by sharing with me their vision, their passion for this country I call home. Nor did they share with me how they planned to implement their passion or vision. Sure they all mouthed the platitudes but their noise just struck me as empty rhetoric, and insincere. And I really resented that many politicians were telling us average Canadians to vote “strategically.”
I already shared with you my views on Jack Layton of the New Democratic Party. At election call, his party held 29 seats. I don’t care how many times Layton tells himself or us, that he is “The next Prime Minister of Canada,” not going to happen. Not this time. Hit the road Jack! I am sure some “average” Canadians have bought into his hype, and the NDP may have gained more seats, but PM? Not likely.
Stephen Harper of the Conservatives? Where to begin? Far too much ink has been used, and airwaves filled with stuff on Harper.
The first image of Harper during this election campaign was him “visiting” an ‘ordinary family’ in Richmond BC. The pictures of him cuddling baby follow, as his party tried to erase all the previous 2-years of Harper the control freak. Didn’t work for me! I found the picture above on a Canadian blog, which pokes fun at Harper. (The Skinny: The Naked Wisdom of Skinny Dipper, link here: skinnydips.blogspot.com)
In a piece called “I support Harper’s “Blue Sweater” Party! “The writer says: Just for today, I am supporting Stephen Harper’s Blue Sweater Party.
I like this particular picture so much more than any of the official stage-managed pictures I have ever seen of Harper. The significance of him shown as turned away from the camera, typifies his whole period as Prime Minister. Really, I could write a book, but suffice to say that from day one in office Harper has tried to control EVERY image and message coming out from his “new” government. Ask any journalist on Parliament Hill about Harper trying to control them, so that he can in turn control what makes the news, what IS the news. That shuffle early on in his mandate set the tone, and was symptomatic of his whole time as PM. No longer did “ordinary” Canadian hear or see their elected officials ad-libbing for the cameras. Nobody except Harper was ever available for comment. It was very strange to watch the muffling not only of the fourth estate, but also OUR employees, OUR elected Members of Parliament. Massaging the media indeed. On only one issue did I agree with Harper and that was support of the military mission in Afghanistan. Anybody who knows me, even a little, knows that if I could have, for that one issue alone I would have voted Conservative. I just couldn’t, and the reasons would make up at least a book.
I was not the only ordinary Canadian to be feeling the chill of Harper. The creative community across the country felt the axe, as just recently Harper cut funding to the tune of $45 million (yes, Canadian) and the arts community was up in arms. Mr. Harper may have learned, too late, that you do not trifle with the artists. They took to the airwaves with their case. Rick Mercer, recognised as one of Canada’s funniest people, hit YouTube. Check them out:
Mary Walsh, another famous comic, held a blue sweater burning ceremony on a St. John’s beach:
Walsh, famous nationally for lampooning politicians in her persona of Princess Warrior Marg Delahunty, said:
“I thought, ‘Well, there’s not very much I can do, I suppose, but I could go down and burn a few sweater-vests,’ “…
Appearing in character, Walsh described Harper as “an iceberg of a prime minister” surrounded by underlings too terrified to speak.
“How stunned does the prime minister think we are?” Walsh yelled out, as a bonfire crackled.
“For God’s sake, does he think that putting on a blue sweater-vest is going to make us think, ‘Oh my goodness, what a kind-hearted, cozy, cute little PM,’ [CBC]
Not only artists had scores to settle with Harper. Very early on, one of the Atlantic premiers, Danny Williams, hit the airwaves running – loudly – with his ABC – Anybody but Conservatives. This movement – and the reasons behind Mr. Williams’ displeasure – was all over the media, but one in-depth piece comes from Carleton Free Press:
‘Harper’s a fraud’: ABC-anybody but Conservatives says NF Premier Danny Williams
A Conservative majority would be one of the most negative events in Canadian history.
So said Newfoundland premier Danny Williams in a fiery speech last week. He used the occasion to publicize what he said should be the logo, nation wide, of this totally unnecessary election, ABC – anybody but the Conservatives. And he is prepared to take his message all across Canada if he is asked. …”His party’s origins are based on fraud,” said Williams. …Harper’s rhetoric in support of a fixed-election date sounded good. It would deny any prime minister (himself included, presumably) the ability to call a snap election for purely political gain, a nefarious practice that should be eliminated once and for all… [link:blogs.carletonfreepress.ca/?p=1388]
There are other party leaders of course: May, Dion, etc. etc. and other political fights around the country. Canada’s election may have been much shorter than the US (six weeks versus forever), and may be devoid of the disgusting logos and symbols and scandals in America, but to an every day Canadian, it is always interesting watching who comes and goes from Parliament Hill.