Tuesday, January 24, 2006

If you give a Canadian a lemon, he/she will make...

Orange juice.

Warning!!!!! Do not read if you don't want to know my opinion on the election.

That is my comment on the election. I can't say things turned out the way I would have liked, but I also can't say that they necessarily turned out poorly. Sure I would have like a different representative for my riding, that isn't to say I am disappointed with my representative being conservative (well okay I am, but that isn't the whole story) I am disappointed in the caliber of conservative I got.

The rhetoric at the news desks all night was "Canada has chosen change" and I think that is a fairly large over statement of what has happened. Canada has picked a minority government, Canada has picked a centrist party to lead by a narrow margin, and Canada has picked a centrist party as the official opposition. Checking the old 2004 election score sheet I'd say Canada has picked the same Government they just had, only the two centrist parties have swapped sides, and there is going to be a special edition of Debbie Travis's Trading Spaces with Stephen and Paul.

Regardless of how you view the outcome, what should you as a Canadian proud of?
Well for starters there is more national unity then ever before as the Bloc Quebecois lost seats, and overall votes in Quebec. Also you empowered the true third party in our democratic system with more votes and seats; giving a truly impressive leader a chance to make a difference in the house. You voted for what you believe in and not out of fear; that is important, because it means next time that all parties, not just two will run issue based campaigns, not slander ones.

In scanning through The Toronto Star's 'voices' column this morning, I am revolted by a number of Canadian's. I will anonymously quote them here, but you can go look them up if you like on the Star's page.

I now can fully empathize with Americans who did not vote for Bush. I am truly mortified that Stephen Harper will be our prime minister.

I will start with defending Harper, since I didn't support him, but he is our democratically elected leader. To this person I say, no you can't empathize, Bush was elected without the popular vote, and with much question into the veracity of the results in his original term. The American's who didn't vote for bush felt cheated, as theirs was very real evidence of electoral tampering. I would like to note, that Bush was legitimately elected the second time around. As for Harper, there was nothing about his campaign or the vote that was suspect. His party holds the largest share of the popular vote. While you may be unsatisfied with the results, he is beyond reproach, and you empathy is inappropriate.

I am so happy for the Canadian people tonight! You have elected a great leader in Stephen Harper. I congratulate him in his victory and look forward to a much closer relationship with our friends to the north.

Hey American dude, keep it to yourself, you really really are not helping those Canadian's who woke up this morning feeling queasy reconcile themselves to the new Government. That goes to all foreign pundits, please let us get settled.

A very sad day: 40% of Canadians did not even vote. Those who did vote said 'Our country is deeply divided politically.'

While true that many Canadian's didn't come out to vote, more Canadian's came out this time then last, this is a victory, albeit small, but lets be thankful for small victories.

It's been a few hours now since the results. Has Belinda Stronach found a way to defect yet?

Zing! While I commend this commenter for a real good one at old Belinda, I think the people of her riding have given an overwhelming affirmation of her decision. She crossed the floor to hold the government together, and also voted against her old party on a contentious issue. The people of her riding have said, 'You made a tough choice, but the right choice, and you have represented our feelings.' She ran a good campaign and has established herself as a politician, now she has another term to strut her stuff.

I vote only because I feel that it is my duty as a citizen of a democratic country to do so. However, I don't actually vote for anyone. I intentionally spoil the ballot. Our antiquated winner take all voting system produces skewed election results, contributes to regionalism and underrepresents women and minorities in parliament.

To this voted, or in this case pseudo voter, why didn't you vote for the Green Party? One of their key issues this campaign and last is electoral reform to fix this very issue. Now instead of speaking up when everyone is listening, you did the electoral equivalent of walking up to the Microphone and letting rip a big fart.

One last quotation, which is really a recursive quotation:
Winston Churchill said, 'At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper - no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of the point.' I think he said it very well.

No real comment here, this is just one of those sentiments that bare repeating.


In closing, am I satisfied with the results of the election? Yes, was it the outcome I hoped for? No, and that is democracy, and this was a most satisfying exercise of it. The Liberal party now has the opportunity to reflect, and recuperate. Even if the Liberal's had never been embroiled in scandal, I think all parties can suffer from brand fatigue after years in office. Yet just one term away from 24 Sussex and it will be a whole new ball game.

On a final note, kudos to Paul Martin, he has had as distinguished career as any politician could hope for, he had done some great things for Canada, and he has with no ambiguity made way for a new generation of Liberals to heal a rift that formed over the last few years. His concessions speech demonstrated his class and his caliber, and in honesty he looked like a man relieved of a great burden. I hope he can now settle down to the life of an MP and spend some time with his family, he has earned it.
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