A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Nobody cares! I’m telling you this straight up – nobody cares! All this ripping and snorting and blowing about a spring election might just as well be going on in Belgium. Canadians don’t give a damn. Why? It’s got nothin’ to do with us! This election, if it even happens, is of the politicians, by the politicians, and for the politicians. We, the people of Canada, are not involved. Some of us are going to show up on election day (but these numbers are dwindling.) And, truth be told, a lot of people vote these days just so they can claim the right to bitch for the next 2 or 3 years. The only people who are getting excited about this democratic exercise are the apparatchiks in Ottawa and a couple of thousand party diehards in Southern Ontario. The rest of us are a whole lot more concerned about Tripoli and Fukushima than we are about our honourable members flopping around in the April breeze.
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that there are people in this world literally dying to get their hands on democracy and we-the-people here in Canada could care less? The fact is, at least this time, it’s not our fault. Our leaders — all of them — have betrayed us. This election is about nothing. It’s a conflict of disinterests. I double dog dare any one of these Federales to name me the issue that is so monumental in scope, so dire in its consequence, that we must halt the business of government forthwith and seek the mandate of the people before we proceed. Could it be forgiving student loans for doctors and nurses? Or perhaps it’s the tax credit for caregivers? What a joke! It’s no wonder Canadians have such a low opinion of politicians. Here we are, struggling along in a world that is rapidly coming apart at the seams, and these clowns want to dance around for six weeks, calling each other names. I swear, boys and girls, the folks in Ottawa have been out to lunch for so long they are now on a permanent picnic.
Here’s how it’s going to go. Ignatieff is going to call Harper the antichrist. Harper is going to call Ignatieff an educated idiot (or an ex-patriot educated idiot, if you prefer Global or CTV.) Layton, who is one pension away from being a millionaire, is going to talk a lot about working families, just as if he knew anything about it. And Elizabeth May is going to wander around, looking bewildered. I haven’t mentioned Gilles Duceppe because you and I both know that the Bloc could run Harold the Talking Penguin (Harold, le Pingouin Qui Parle) in Quebec and still get 50 seats. If there is another scenario for the next month and a half, I’d like to hear it. Oh, yeah! There will also be at least two debates, so the other party leaders can punch Harper in the stomach for an hour or so — in both official languages. And that’s about it. Most Canadians won’t set eyes on their local candidates. Some won’t even know who they are. And 40% of us just won’t bother to vote. I say again, it’s ironic that some people in this world are literally dying to get their hands on a ballot and our leaders are making such a mockery of democracy that nearly half of us have to turn our faces away.
So, what the hell’s really going on?
Despite what you are going to hear from the candidates and the media, this election is about straightening out the political scene in Ottawa. It has nothing to do with ordinary people in places like Brandon and Thunder Bay. The Liberals and the NDP are in a Texas Death Match to determine who is going to represent the Centre Left in this country. Although Ignatieff has tried to drag the Liberals to the right, some members (I’m not going to say Bob Rae) don’t like it. They prefer to remain left of centre and want Mikey to lose an election — so they can trashcan the guy and pick a more appropriate leader. Meanwhile, the Green Party is slowly eroding the far left edges away from the NDP (who are quietly moving right to avoid a fight.) If you’ll notice, Jack Layton doesn’t talk about working people anymore without calling them “middle-class.” And lately, he’s gotten downright shy about the Palestinians.
Anyway, since two objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time, the Liberals and NDP need to decide who is doing what to whom. They’re going to let the voters do that for them. Layton sees an opportunity to claim some Liberal territory, and Ignatieff needs to demonstrate he can defend his party’s left wing turf. These two are going to be taking just as many shots at each other as they do at Harper. By the way, they both know Harper’s going to form the next government: I don’t care what they say.
On the other end of the political spectrum, Stephen Harper sees this as a once-in-a-political-lifetime opportunity to storm Fortress Toronto. Tee-Oh has just elected right wing Bob Ford as mayor, and Harper thinks he can cash in on the honeymoon. A couple of seats in Metro Tee-Oh and he’ll have that majority he’s been smelling for the past five years. Besides, he knows he’s got nothing to lose because — without Quebec and the West — there’s no way Ignatieff can beat him. Since there’s no risk involved, why not take a run at 155 (the number of seats he needs for a majority.)
That’s it! This election is just a realignment of the usual suspects. Outside of Ottawa, we, the people of Canada, could care! And to the politicians who have been working so hard to deliver this election, I say: Have you been in a coma for the last six months? People all over the world are dealing with some pretty serious problems. They’re taking on large ideas that will fundamentally change the nature of their lives and affect future generations.
I think I speak for all Canadians when I say I don’t believe extending The Home Retrofit Program is exactly the kind of grand vision we all have in mind when we think about shaping the future of our country.