Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Morning After

Conservative....124
Liberal.........103
Bloc Quebecois...51
NDP..............29
Independent.......1

A few months ago, when it became apparent our national Liberal minority government would fall - I made this prediction:

That Harper's conservative party would win a minority at the next election but would fall quickly - in a number of months (due to an eventual frustrated attempt at pushing their mandate with no other seat in the house sharing their Neolithic values). And at the following election, the Liberals and New Democrats would take at least 155 seats combined and, their mandates being mostly compatible, would form a coalition majority government for 4 years (motivated by the fear that Canadians would not tolerate a 4th election in 3 years).

Note: For those outside Canada (or possibly those within): A natural majority government will be almost impossible for the foreseeable future. With the Bloc Quebecois locking up the Quebec seats and running no where else, this leaves the eventual ruling party needing two-thirds of the english vote to obtain a simple majority - and there's just not enough swing voters to accommodate this.

I'm taking this opportunity to brag about the first stage of my prediction coming true because there's little hope I'll get the rest right!

Where I've faltered is in over-estimating the political savvy of Canadians. Now that's something I never dreamed I'd hear myself say! I've long been aware that Canadians are on average the most politically ignorant people in the entire world (and I'm confident
there’s at least one study that documents it). And I understand that this stems rather innocently from our being so spoiled for so long, having nary a threat to our relatively utopian (and thoroughly unappreciated) existence in 60 years.

Well, apparently TWO elections is already too much! An acquaintance of mine whose support I rather arrogantly assumed would go to my beloved socialists informed me indignantly that he blamed the NDP for allowing another election and that he would thus present his vote to a more disserving party.

This is an interesting and common phenomenon. Many Canadian voters feel that political parties are their children - to be rewarded or punished as they behave nice or naughty.

For the record - another Major camp are the ones who listen to campaign promises and decide which vote will serve their own personal interests best - the rest of the country be-damned - and then sacrifice their vote, rather laughably, somehow forgetting or not understanding that political campaigns are more densely packed with bullshit than anything else in the modern world - the long line of Canadian cattle queued up at the American border notwithstanding.

And the last camp - by far the biggest, of course - are the ones who presume they need not vote at all - generally 40%.

Here's my own take on things.

I understand it's a thoroughly remarkable privilege to live in such a wealthy, free and democratic society. I understand that my ancestors gave their blood and their lives for it. I would feel like a thorough ingrate to take this blessing, this gift, so much for granted as to not even get off my sorry ass and vote - the very least I can do to contribute to this wonderful process and claim to disserve the bounty I obviously reap from it.

I wonder, do non-voters realize that if everyone stayed home and didn't vote that our democracy would immediately cease to exist?

Furthermore - I don't listen to campaigns. I run a tight ship in life. I have some principles that will not be undermined. Among them:


#1: I don't add any bullshit to the world.
#2: I don't accept any bullshit that I can possibly avoid.

The collective record of promise-keeping from Canadian politicians is abysmal.

I cast an informed vote based on record - the party's record in general, not the candidate's. I choose the party who has the record of voting in the manner that has, to the best I can interpret, most respected the country, all it's peoples and it's future and the best interests of such - on the assumption they'd be the best bet for continuing to do so.

I don't see any other way. And yet I feel very alone in this.

If this new session of parliament does not work I fear that the climax of my rather hopeful prediction will not get it's fair opportunity to come to fruition. And why?

Because an election costs Canadians $8 per eligible voter - including all remuneration costs and partial campaign reimbursements, and it seems the average typical Canadian would rather put $5 of that in his gas tank and take little Michael to his hockey game instead of spending a few minutes to tend to our democracy and to little Michael's future.

Oh - the remaining $3, by the way, goes to Tim Hortons for the obligatory pre-game, and post-game coffees.

Fantasy Writer Guy is sad today. The prospect of a hand-tied Harper at the helm for a couple years is a blandly depressing one. Though not, thank goodness, as terrifying a prospect as a hell-bent Harper in majority power. At least the time has not yet come for me to flee to Sweden seeking political asylum. That remains on the back-burner. My contingency plan!

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