With thanks to John Steinbeck for contributing such a splendiferous word to the lexicon.
Once again I present some disjointed thoughts on Canada's recent federal election. SPOILER WARNING for those of you who haven't yet watched the election night coverage recorded on your Tivo.
I was very pleased with the election results. In fact, if I could have scripted my ideal outcome, it would have been pretty much what we got. I certainly didn't want any of the opposition parties in power. While I'm all for carpooling, the benefit of all those clowns being able to travel to Parliament Hill in one Volkswagen doesn't outweigh the damage they'd do to my country given the chance.
That said, I'm glad Harper only got a minority. I like minority governments for the exact reason that it's hard for them to do anything. As somebody said at some point in history, "That government is best which governs least." When it comes to domestic affairs, at least, I want the government feeble, inert, and afraid of displeasing the electorate.
Plus, there was a much-needed change in my own riding as the incumbent got turfed in favour of a longshot newcomer. The one I voted for, in fact, and I'd like to think that my vote made the difference. Although mathematically it didn't. I'm happy to report that my election night negativity on this score was unfounded.
Time for an I-Told-You-So dance. The new voter identification rules did indeed cause uninformed people to miss voting. I explained why that's a good thing back in that other post (I just linked to it a couple of lines back; do I need to draw a map?), and I stand by what I said then. News stories like this one and this one warm the cockles of my heart, and we all know that nobody likes cold heartcockles.
Here are my favourite quotations from those articles (one from each - I have the same journalistic ethics as CNN. I'll present two opinions from the exact same ideological position and call it balance, as long as they come from ostensibly different sources):
1. Someone who was trying to get young voters to show up described them as "People who are, like, the toughest demographic to get to come out and vote."
Yeah, like, they totally are, right? And, like, they need to know that, like, voting is groovy.
The kids still say "groovy", don't they?
Ahhh, whatta they know anyway. I just wish they'd stay off my lawn.
2. One of those aforementioned young voters, after being told to go home and get her ID: “This (is) ridiculous. If they wanted this information from me, they should have asked for it ahead of time.”
Yes, that's right. Maybe they should have run some newspaper, radio and television ads explaining the requirement. Maybe they should have had an entire section of the Elections Canada website devoted to explaining the remarkably simple concept. Maybe they should have even spelled it out on the voter information cards that were sent out to (I think) all registered voters a while before the election, then put up big signs about it at the polling station.
Note for non-Canadian readers, who may not catch the sarcasm: They did all that.
Apparently if you don't stop by this young lady's dorm room and tattoo a reminder across her lower back, she doesn't consider it advance notice.
By the way, I inserted that parenthetical "is" into her sentence to make it coherent. I really hope its absence was a typo in the original article. I give the educational system a lot of grief, but I'd like to think that college students don't really talk like Tonto.
My dream scenario for the next election is that each voter be required, on arrival at the polling station, to recite the lyrics to any one Elvis Costello song. Promote the rule heavily, including sending a copy of This Year's Model - with lyric insert - to all households with at least one registered voter. Those who show up at the polls saying they didn't know about it will be required to give their vote to someone who gets why radio stations don't like playing "Radio Radio".
Since my prediction for my own riding was thankfully wrong, and the Canadian election turned out as well as I could realistically have hoped (although an Ezra Levant write-in landslide - for every seat - would have been nice), then I'm actually daring to hold out hope for what happens in my big friendly neighbour to the south on November 4th.
McCain isn't perfect by any means, but come on. Obama? Really? An avowed communist whose own supporters unashamedly use the phrase "redistribution of wealth?" (Tip: although his supporters deny that he's a communist, the whole "redistribution of wealth" thing makes him one, no matter how much they try to weasel around it.)
Sarah Palin, on the other hand, I really like. I freely admit that she may lack some of characteristic slickness common among career politicians, but I consider that a point in her favour. The operational nuts and bolts can be learned pretty quickly. Character and integrity can't.
My real hope for the U.S. of A between now and their election is that a whole bunch of people in both parties wake up one morning, say "Wait a minute. We nominated these two? What were we thinking?" and start the whole process over from scratch. There's still plenty of time to hold primaries and a campaign of non-nauseating length, and the two new nominees could hardly be worse. A Palin / Joe The Plumber ticket would have me looking into immigration options. (Legal immigration only, of course.)
The Hey-Let's-Break-Up-The-Country Party got 50 seats. Oh, for the good old days when treason and sedition were rewarded with a noose, not a seat in Parliament.
More seriously, while I'm pretty much an absolutist for freedom of speech and would not advocate criminalizing any speech short of direct incitement of violence, how insane and selfish is it that people vote for a separatist party just because they think that party will extort more out of the rest of Canada for them?
The Bloc and their supporters remind me of the captured Russian sailors in The Hunt For Red October. They're on the deck of an American ship, watching depth charges go off. They cheer. "Yay! The captain is fighting the Americans!" I kept waiting for one of them to turn to another and say, "Umm, Boris... aren't we on one of the American ships we're rooting for him to sink?"
Now that the Liberal party has figured out exactly what most of Canada thinks of Stephane Dion, I've heard rumours of Justin Trudeau, son of longtime Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, stepping into the leadership void. If only the Liberals had noticed the leadership void in their party during the months leading up to the election, things might have gone differently.
The day after the election, some of my co-workers were speaking enthusiastically about Justin T. taking over the big chair. I offered, "By all means, he should. If we've learned nothing else from the Bush family, it's that being the son of a leader automatically qualifies you to be a great leader."
Disclaimer: despite that joke, I mean no disrespect to President Bush (either current or former). However, the people to whom I was speaking don't think very highly of "Dubya", so it was a cheap and easy way to make my point and I ran with it.
Lots of people think that there's some shady connection between Stephen Harper and American interests. I've heard tinfoil hat models talk about him being supported by everyone from the NRA to the aliens in Area 51 (and possibly Area 52, the even more secret one). These folks like to talk about foreign interference in Canadian elections being illegal, immoral, and a major contributor to childhood obesity. They would like Harper impeached (or perhaps exiled) based on their suspicions.
However, I haven't heard a word from any of those same folks about Michael Moore campaigning with and for the NDP. Odd, that. It's almost as though they apply different standards to candidates that they happen to like.
Harper may be cockier now. I hope so. I like my Prime Minister to have a little bit of swagger. It was Pierre Trudeau's one redeeming quality.
I just saw a newspaper editorial (in a dead-tree edition - sorry, no link) that called Harper's threats to make votes into confidence motions a "dirty trick". (A "confidence motion" is one that if voted down triggers a new election.)
What? That's the way the system is supposed to work. When that editor used the phrase "dirty trick", they demonstrated that they don't understand what at least one of those words means.
If I were in Harper's shoes, I'd immediately pick my pet issue that I thought would be toughest to get through Parliament, have a bill written up, and make it a confidence motion. Here's where we find out whether he's really serious about things like getting rid of firearm registration or revamping the Young Offenders Act. If he is, then they'll be on the agenda very soon, as confidence motions.
That's not a dirty trick, that's having the guts to call the opposition's bluff. "You don't like it? Then vote against it, and we'll see what the Canadian electorate thinks about it."
This is Harper's chance to show what he really wants to do. I expect the answer will be "not much".
Enough rambling. Here's another picture from our our recent church-sponsored afternoon of trap shooting. Once again, pastor on the left, attorney on the right.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
With thanks to John Steinbeck for contributing such a splendiferous word to the lexicon.