I swear…I’m going to hurl if I see one more advertisement with Steven Harper sitting hunched over in a chair (staring meaningfully into the camera) letting Canadians know everything that our veterans have done for us. Harper…I get it already. The mock sincerity, gravitas is getting really annoying.
Canadians heading for a ‘do-we-have-to?’ election
Jack Knox, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, September 04, 2008
Here it is, my last-ditch attempt to prevent a fall election: Stephen Harper, I will pay you 50 bucks to forget the whole thing.
I make this offer on behalf of all Canadians, sober or Albertan, who wish to avoid the misery of yet another needless, dispiriting political campaign. Just take the money, Mr. Prime Minister – it doesn’t have to be a $50 bill with a picture of that Liberal Mackenzie King on it, it could be five crisp John A. Macdonalds – and walk away.
Because while you (or at least your pollsters) think it absolutely essential that Canada dust off the national ballot box, the rest of us greet the prospect with all the eager anticipation of a man waiting for a prostate exam. An election call during back-to-school week? Jeez, pal, why don’t you just shoot Santa Claus while you’re at it?
Here in B.C. we are already looking at the Obama/Nobama contest Nov. 4, the once-every-three-years municipal elections a week and a half after that and, in May, a provincial campaign. Now they want to stuff an October federal vote into the schedule? Even for a political junkie, squishing federal, municipal, U.S. and provincial elections into that short a span is like having Christmas, Halloween, Easter and your birthday all in the same week. We are full to bursting with elections, couldn’t eat another bite, particularly when it’s just reheated two-year-old leftovers.
I tried arguing this on the radio the other day, said an election now is like going to the mailbox and finding a notice from your dentist saying it’s time to get your teeth cleaned. You look at the notice and go, “Already? I thought I didn’t have to go again until October 2009.” That’s when we were supposed to vote under Harper’s fixed-date election legislation, the law that was supposed to free the process from political manipulation.
But the Conservative guy on the CBC show said no, no, another election campaign might be like going to the dentist, but we have to do it because Parliament is so dysfunctional. I guess he’s right, if by dysfunctional you mean no one party having enough votes to do anything wingnuttish without the others taking away the car keys until the government sobers up.
Indeed, the Conservatives keep repeating to us that Canadians seem to like minority governments and that the forthcoming election is likely to breed another one. Super. Then let’s keep the one we’ve got. It’s only two years old, barely has the motor broken in, doesn’t even have a dent. (Don’t worry about that Bernier-Couillard business; it will buff right out.) Willingly trading one minority government for another minority government is like trading a 1984 Chevette for another 1984 Chevette.
Meanwhile, we’re stuck in the back seat, gawking at the Americans in the next lane in their flashy new 2008 Obama. Maybe it won’t look that hot with a few miles under the hood, but right now their Obama still has that new-car smell. So does the alternative, the hot-off-the-line Palin Republican, its sporty exterior hiding a rifle rack and a desire to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (OK, we’ve squeezed enough out of the car metaphor.)
The American campaign has been a revelation. It has proved that Canadians are, contrary to conventional wisdom, interested in politics – American politics. That’s probably because the people the Americans elect are more powerful than ours. (Their leader determines the future of the world; ours answers questions about meat inspection.)
If this foreign fascination seems unpatriotic, too bad. Being told to get excited about a federal election is like being told to cheer for the home hockey team, even when it sucks. No, we can reply, it’s up to the home team to give us something to cheer about.
And lordy but this campaign looks to be cheerless. The only one who wants it is Harper, and that’s because he doesn’t want an election in 2009, with the economy stuck in low gear and the voters cranky. Also, the polls show Canadians prefer Harper over StÃ©phane Dion as national leader. (Poor Dion. That’s like losing a beauty contest to Groundskeeper Willie.)
Anyway, it appears the campaign is already on. Gary Lunn was flying around Vancouver Island making funding announcements this week, chucking around so much cash that you would have thought it wasn’t even his money. (Oh wait, it wasn’t.)
But it’s not too late, Mr. Prime Minister. My 50 bucks is still on the table. Think about it.