Let me first set the stage for this post: I am trying the standing desk again (so far so good), I am in the grip of a boomerang cold (I got rid of it for a day and a half and now it’s back) and my patience is almost entirely depleted. Between waiting for the self-publishing website to clear my ebook for sale in itunes/Amazon/everywhere else, waiting for the election to finally happen, and spending three consecutive days housebound with the little dud, I am an irritable curmudgeon. And so, I come here to talk about politics. Now that you know what you’re walking into, let’s get going.
For my handful of international readers, I’ll give a little background, and I will attempt to be non-partisan about it. Here in Canada, there are 5 federal parties. There may technically be even more, but I don’t have the willpower to include every tiny sub-group. There are 2 major parties (Conservatives and Liberals), 1 medium party,( New Democratic Party) 1 party that only represents 1 province (Bloc Quebecois), and 1 tiny party (Green). For the last 5 years, we have been tolerating a Conservative minority government. They have been able to retain power not because of astute leadership or demonstrated policy acumen, but because the alternatives were less savory. The Liberal party spent most of that time finding the worst possible leader and putting him up for an election which he promptly lost. He was a meek and pale fellow who could only speak one of Canada’s 2 official languages well, and it wasn’t the one most of Canada speaks. The NDP has a charismatic leader, but no one took the party seriously as a potential ruling party. The bloc are only interested in defending the interests of Quebec, which makes it a little hard to get a vote anywhere else. Plus, they would like Quebec to leave Canada and become its own country. And our little group of Green party candidates can’t scrape together enough votes in the places they need to. So, in the face of all of this unimpressive choice, the country let an economist with delusions of grandeur run the place.
The Canadian people went to the polls twice to tell the Conservatives ‘listen, we don’t really like you, but the other guys aren’t any better, so you can be the placeholder Prime Minister. But you have to work with everyone else’. For the last 2 years, however, the Conservatives have been trying to game the rules of government to find ways around the opposition parties. It’s been a string of small but significant slights against our parliamentary traditions, designed to both increase the Prime Minister’s centralized power, and to try to goad the opposition into forcing an election. After 2 elections in 5 years, the conservatives were counting on voter disgust and apathy at the prospect of a 3rd election (the one we’re in right now) to give them the majority they are drooling over. They claim that they ‘didn’t want this election’ but they’ve been spending taxpayer money to run campaign ads on television for months before the election call happened. Plus, there are a bunch of conservative scandal chickens that are coming home to roost soon, and the Cons need a majority to make those chickens go away.
A funny thing is happening right now, though. The party no one really took very seriously, the NDP, is suddenly polling very high. Very, VERY high. We’re in the last 3 days of the campaign, and they are knocking on the Conservative’s door. It’s unlikely that they’ll win the election outright, but anything could happen. No one saw this wave of popularity coming, but in hindsight it makes sense.
Imagine the current PM Harper as your neighbourhood jerk. His dogs run around and poop on everyone’s lawn, but no one has had definite proof that it was his dogs, and he refuses to accept that he’s to blame. The Liberal leader is the grumpy old man who finally has proof and he corners the jerk at the neighbourhood barbeque. Grumpy keeps yelling and yelling about the poop, and the jerk just glares back and insults the grumpy old man. Total buzzkill. But over at the bar, there’s your cheery neighbour who throws all the pool parties. He’s handing out margaritas and having a laugh about the other two guys fighting in the corner. Next thing you know, the bar is packed with people having a good time. They don’t care about the poop anyway, they just wanted to hang out with their friends. By the time the jerk and the grump realize no ones watching, the good time guy is already kissing their wives and getting cheered for it.
Maybe that explained it, maybe it made it worse, who knows. It amused me, and that’s enough. I will laugh my balls off with delight if somehow the NDP win on Monday. Speaking of amusing, I find it hillarious that a guy who barely managed to stay in power during this dearth of leadership options is delusional enough to fill his office with portraits of himself, instead of the traditional portraits of past Prime Ministers. It’s like bragging that you beat the stinky kid with the weird face lumps for the title of ‘least nauseating boy’ at summer camp.