Monday, January 23, 2006

ETC: Rock the Vote. Or at Least Make It Sway Slightly.

It's election day here in Canuckistan. Why do I have déjà vü? Oh, because we just did this a little over a year ago. Kee-rist on a clamshell.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I understand that the Liberals fucked up and all, but given that the polls indicate that Canada's seemingly collective desire to vote punitively will result in a Conservative government, this seems like one of those "the cure is worse than the ailment" scenarios.

The Conservative Party. Can you friggin' believe it? For you non-Canadians playing along at home, the current Conservative Party is the net result of an unexpected chain of events, which went roughly like this:
  1. The Progressive Conservative (PC) Party (not to be confused with the current Conservatives, the PCs were fiscally conservative but socially whatever-the-hell-the-people-want) withers away to nothing in the early '90s.
  2. The Alliance Party -- a bunch of Yankee-style neo-cons -- is founded by crankypants Preston Manning, who, if nothing else, at least gives all appearance of being sane...
  3. Unlike his later counterpart, Stockwell "Doris" Day, who's a few maple trees short of a grove, if you catch my meaning. (Go here to read all about comedian Rick Mercer -- who's sort of Canada's Jon Stewart -- and his referendum bid to get Day to legally change his name. Funneeee.)
  4. And then, as if from nowhere, the new Conservative Party rises from the ashes of the old Alliance Party. It's an uneasy merging (well, it makes me uneasy, anyway) of fiscal conservatives and social conservatives, led by the small-eyed Stephen Harper.
You know what they say in Canada: if you don't like a political party, just wait five minutes for it to change.

Anyway. This unlikely group is careening toward victory, which would all be well and good except that they have some funny ideas (and not ha-ha funny) about things I care about, such as gay rights and staying the fuck out of Iraq.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not all that keen on ANY of the main parties in this election. A rundown:

Liberals: They lied and they stole. These are bad things. They fucked up. And voting them in again would seem to endorse their fuckuppery.

New Democratic Party (NDP): Any liberal thinker worth their salt must support the NDP's platform -- improved social programs and whatnot -- but does any thinker of any political stripe actually believe that the NDP has the experience and moxie necessary to make their platform a reality?

Conservatives: Don't get me started. Again.

Bloc Quebecois: This Quebec-based party is ostensibly pro-separation. I'm one of those people who likes to keep the family together and happy, but these days I can't say I blame the Bloc. If the Conservatives do win, I want to separate.

Out here on the ol' frontier, we've also got a bunch of crazy fringe parties, to boot: the
Green Party, the Work Less Party, the Marijuana Party, to name just a few. While in theory, I think that these are all worthy and noble goals, they strike me as a bit, er, single-minded. (And yes, yes, I know that these parties all purport to have broader mandates; you don't need to tell me! But if their mandates are really all that broad, maybe it was a strategic mistake to have such a singularly focused party name, hm?)

So where does that leave me? Well, I'm not going to tell you how I'm voting. I had a traumatic experience in grade three, when our teacher asked us -- via a show of hands -- how our parents were voting in the federal election. I was the only person whose hand went up when she said "
Pierre Trudeau." Oh, the schoolyard ostracism!

But I am definitely voting. As should you. And let me tell you something:
it's not too late for you to vote today, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT REGISTERED IN YOUR RIDING. Go here (I couldn't get the permalink to work, so just go to the entry entitled "Peace, Order and Good Government Doesn’t Come Free") to get all the poop on how to register, where to vote in your riding, and of course learn about the candidates.

[Big ups to CBC Radio 3 for the link and the info]

17 comments:

Chanie said...

I've been reading you for a while, here and on the Bored Housewives network. I love what you write, especially when it's about Sam...

I just wanted to mention this: as a Quebecer voting for the Bloc, the best thing that could happen for us is a win by the Conservatives. Why? Simply because they don’t care about us. The Liberals want us to stay and they have done all that stealing and cheating to keep us in Canada. A Conservative win would mean that, at the next referendum, it should be easier to get out of here.

It's nothing against you, nice canadians, but we would like to have control over what happens to us.

Oh and you can be sure that as long as the Bloc will be in Ottawa, there won’t be any going to Irak or gay marriage freak out. Quebec doesn’t want that and we have a few people over there to make sure that won’t happen.

Not trying to start a big debate here, just adding my $0,02.

drunken monkey said...

Oh, ugh, Stephen Harper. I hate you and your potato-face. I am so mad that I'm probably going to have to call you my Prime Minister. I will say it with disgust, every time.

I think the Liberals need to take some time away to fix their shit, but this isn't what I had in mind.

I'm voting NDP, because I believe in (most of) their platform. I don't think they could run things properly on their own, but I do like having them wailing about things in the background, and I'd like to see them with more seats. I also like our local candidate, although the Liberal candidate seems quite popular here and won by a huge margin last time.

I am hauling my non-registered boyfriend's ass to vote with me. There will be no civic laziness on my watch!

drunken monkey said...

Now I feel I must double-post to respond to chanie. I don't support seperation (but then, I'm not from Quebec), but I find myself a bit conflicted about the Bloc vote. Do I want to see the country split up? No. But do I want to see more homosexual-loving lefties in Parliament, especially with the (likely) coming reality of a Conservative government? Hell, yes, I do. So I don't know what to think.

I do understand why Quebeckers vote for the Bloc even if they aren't hardcore seperatists -- it's probably nice to have a party advocating for your interests above all else in Parliament. If Newfoundland and Labrador had ever managed to take the Fisherman's Party federal they'd have...well, they'd have seven seats, but they'd be noisy!

Dave said...

Our riding has been Liberal since Mackenzie King, so I'm told. If I thought the NDP candidate had a snowball's chance in hell, my vote would fall there. As he doesn't, I'll hold my nose and voting Liberal.

Was talking with friends on the weekend and we've decided that, in response to the marijuana party, we're going to form the E party. "Thanks, I appreciate your support. Let me shake your hand. That's nice! Okay, okay, let me touch you face. Ohmygod! That feels so good! Touch me, now. No, use the back of your hand. See? See? Oh, I love this song! I hope it never stops playing so I can keep dancing forever. Vote E!"

Anonymous said...

Yesterday's Calgary Sun was an interesting venture into the sickening side of what the conservatives think is 'fair and balanced coverage'. A three page spread titled 208 reasons NOT to vote Liberal. Just for all those undecided voters. The introduction was pretty much nothing but swagger, welcoming Mr. Harper to the big boy chair. Literally, sickening.

They also made a point to mention quite prominently the Quebec ads which apparently stated that they would not let Calgary decide for them. I wanted to be offended, but, yeah, I live here, and it's a sad truth. As much as I love Calgary, sometimes I really hate the people here. This whole province sometimes. It's a wall, and the Liberals would have to stop taxing us, period, before they'd ever have a shot at breaking it down.

I've already been to vote, and I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, because I'll be 29 in a few weeks, but it was my first time. I wasn't even on the voters list. But it's done, and now all I can do is hope.

Bottom line, I'll take the corruption in government, (because seriously, who the HELL is surprised that there's corruption in government?) over moral bankruptcy and damaging anti-social policy any day.

queen of the harpies said...

NDP for me, obviously. Although I'd vote Bloc if I lived in Quebec.

landismom said...

Thanks for this explanation. As a non-Canadian, it's good to have a layperson's explanation of the parties.

Anonymous said...

I am still stuck on the fact that your grade school teacher asked the class what your parents were voting. It is none of her business! Voting is not an exercice in peer pressure, but actual contemplation of the issues. OK, so I am choking on my words realizing that most people will vote Tory out of spite than actual support for their anti-Charter policies, but at least I know that the Liberal judges (??) will keep the government in line.

Jagosaurus said...

Thanks from me also for the explanation of the parties. As an American, I don't know nothin' about Canada. It is apparently mandated by law that American media must not cover the politics of other countries in any detail, if at all. Hell, they don't even cover politics here in any detail when you really look at it.

[gets down off soapbox]

Kudos to you also for encouraging people to educate themselves and vote. I cannot imagine sitting out an election here. I wouldn't feel right.

drunken monkey said...

I dragged my boyfriend off to vote with me -- his first time too. No civic laziness on my watch!

Sun Media don't know nothing about about journalistic objectivity. The same article ran in the Toronto Sun.

Anonymous said...

I live in Calgary and I am a proud Conservative. It's about time the Liberals were held accountable for all their BS.

Here's hoping for a majority Conservative Government, although in all honesty I'll be keeping a closer watch on the Flames/Oilers Game than the results...

Doppelganger said...

anonymous, I totally agree that the Liberals should be held accountable for their bullshit. I don't think, however, that taking rights away from gays and pounding the shit out of innocent Iraqis is the way to send that message.

heather said...

i am very impressed with your use of the word fuckuppery in combination with the Liberal party. I went out and voted today....so we await our fate. (i'm with you, Stephen eyes' freak me out. Usually i like blue eyes, except his!!)

Anonymous said...

Abby (annon above) said....

While I may not agree with everything that the Conservative Party brings to the table, that's no reason to stay with what is in place.

I have lived in Calgary my whole life and I am looking for a little bit more balanced of a Gov't, one who recognizes there are more provinces than just Ontario and occaisionaly Quebec.

Em said...

I voted today, and just about the only thing to piss me off was when girl from down the hall asked me how I voted, and when I told her, she told me I was stupid and should have voted Liberal because 90% of people with Ph.D's vote Liberal and it's proven that the more post-sec education a person has the more likely they are to vote Liberal. I should have said that it's been proven that the longer she keeps on talking, the more likely my foot it to be found 90% up her ass.
The cherry on the sundae was that the girl trying to school me in Canadian politics is from Illinois and too young to vote anyhow, even if she were Canadian.
When all this failed to get a rise out of me, she began attacking my religious upbringing and my family, in that order, relating both to my political choices, and at that point I threw all pretentions of Christian charity to the wind and told her to fuck off.

Em said...

P.S. I sold Stephen Harper a latte a few months ago, and at close proximity, yes, I'll admit he's a little disturbing if he stares right at you, but he was polite and not at all scary and didn't make a fuss when I was all "hurr-barista-in-training-hurr!" and took about three times as long as I should have to steam the damn milk. He also didn't get pissed when I waited all of two seconds after he turned away to start loudly gossiping with the other girl behind the counter about OMG who did I just sell coffee to?

Jaimie said...

That's so funny that you mentioned the single-focus political party names! We were just talking about this last night. This sounds very ignorant of me, but I don't know anything about the Green Party other than, presumably, they care about environmental issues. That's admirable, of course, but I'm looking for a much broader approach in my government officials, and if their name wasn't so singularly focused I'd probably be more apt to give them a fair hearing.