Well, Canada, we’re in another pickle. The on-going “me, too!” power struggle that has dogged us for five years is now going into Round 3, thanks to a non-confidence (read: get enough people to whine the ruling party out of power) vote. In just over a month, we’re back at the polls, likely to do what we did last time, and the time before that: Make no decision whatsoever.
I dunno what it is, but we Canadians seem to really love to not rock the boat. We don’t want heavy-handed politics, but we also want our cake and eat it, too. We want our health care, dammit, but we don’t want to pay for it. We want to leave our lights on 24/7, but please don’t raise our energy bills. And above all, we still want to be the “Nice” people in North America.
Let’s face it, folks, we’re a bunch of pansies.
Yes, you. I’m talking to you, Canada. Yes, you who hasn’t voted in several elections, you who doesn’t vote because you’re convinced your area only ever votes one way, even you who voted last time (and has done so since eligibility) because it was the right thing to do, but you didn’t actually spend any time to figure out who you should vote for — you just marked the person in your area whose sign you saw last.
The last previous two elections have created, for all intents and purposes, a lame duck Parliament. Minority governments, at least in this country, are less effective than a eunuch in a Red Light district. Everything gets argued, nothing gets done. Meanwhile, budgets inflate, services break, money gets wasted, and the bitching about it all goes on unabated.
What this country needs is a majority government. Yeah, they’re usually fraught with some sort of bullshit that’s common with power — some idiot who forgets that he’s there to service the people (not the other way around) and makes a few deals that sweetens his pocket. Next thing we know, we’ve got scandals, Royal Inquiries, and more than a few newspaper headlines about how so-and-so did such-and-such, and boy wasn’t that a bad thing. And no-one pays any attention to the dozens of other things that the same ruling party managed to accomplish, and suddenly Canada is itching for that next election to vote the offending party out so we can have something “better”.
Well, “better” is our current problem. Right now, you’ve got (really) three options:
- Conservatives: Right wing, business-focused, tax-raising, and money-spending. They’ve been bought by American interests to push through horrible copyright policies that do not reflect Canadians‘ interests, allowed Canadian companies to push through billing practices that hurt the majority of us, want to buy warplanes (and somehow, this is a good thing), and the environment is about as important as a rapidly-covered-up pimple.
- Liberals: Led by someone who should know better, all the Liberals have managed to do for the last five years is (effectively) state how bad Stephen Harper is, how much better than Stephen Harper they are, boy isn’t Stephen Harper a bad example for Canada, Stephen Harper Stephen Harper Stephen Harper. The Conservatives should really pay the Liberals for all the free advertising — it would only be fair. It would be far nicer if the Liberals stopped whining and actually sounded like Pierre Trudeau again. Yeah, Trudeau might have been a pompous ass from time to time, but he still reigns as one of the best and most influential politicians from the last century.
- NDP: I’d love for Jack Layton to be a stronger leader, I really would. I would also love the NDP to have a fiscal policy that had more of a balance; they lead almost as far to the left as the Conservatives do to the right. It would also be nice for them to recognise those of us who don’t have the luxury of working in a union, but are (generally) worked far harder that unions for far less payoff. Support the working person, and not just the few organised groups, and the rest of us would appreciate it immensely.
The Bloc? Quebec doesn’t have the population to win Federal control from the Rest of Canada. (And if, by some freakish miracle, they did manage to get the minority control, you’d see a Coalition struck up that would make even the most jigsaw Frankenstein reel in sheer horror.) The Green Party is so much more left that the NDP look Liberal; Canada would need a serious slide back into socialism for Green to gain any significant footing.
Guess what? We’re looking at another minority government. Because of what I said above, and you know it. There is no clear choice, and I don’t care who you are, where you live, or what you do. If you sit down and truly think out the options (not just rote spit out your default answer), you would see that we’re basically screwed. You either choose a party who wants Canada to be America (for all intents and purposes), or you choose one of two groups who, frankly, have no message worth listening to.
What this means — I hate to say it — that we’re going to vote for status quo. We’re not going to take a stand in our federal parliamentary democracy (constitutional monarchy notwithstanding) and demand of our elected (or want-to-be-elected) representatives to stop acting like bickering children. We won’t take the responsibility to properly vet out the people we send to Ottawa, ask them the hard questions that prove they’re capable, and call them out when they do wrong. Because, in the end, we’re all spineless and just want things to be simple and easy. We want to have a few people make the real decisions, cast our vote in acquiescence, and reserve our right to bitch about it afterwards.
Want to rant back at me? Leave a nasty comment? Don’t waste my time — you want to prove me wrong, show up for your MP’s sessions (elected or nominated) and demand to know where they stand. Hell, record it so when they vote opposite of what you wanted, you can post it on YouTube for the world to see. I’m not your audience — you are. Your family — your children and theirs — depend on you making the right decision. (And no, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for — I may generally vote Liberal, but unless Iggy gets his head of out Harper’s ass, I’m not going to lining up for a red shirt this year.)
This is going to be a bad election. I’m hoping — nay, praying — for a miracle that something truly significant happens. But I’m betting it won’t, and we’ll be right back where we’ve been, slowly rotting away under ineffective leadership from all sides, who want nothing more than to climb to the top of the dirt pile and claim that they’re the King of the Castle.