Sunday, August 02, 2015

It's on: Canadian election called for October 19

It's the holiday long weekend here in most of the Great White North, a time for Canadians to kick back with beer, iced tea or whatever it is they drink and ponder the realities of life in one of the greatest countries on the planet.

And yet this morning, on a Sunday morning in the very middle of a long weekend, our prime minister, Stephen Harper, has just met with the Governor General and asked him to dissolve parliament. The GG agreed - wimp! - and we're now headed to the polls on October 19th.

Do the math and the numbers are painful: We're in for a 78-day campaign, one of the longest in Canadian history and the longest in over a century. Most campaigns last for about 37-ish days, or just over 5 weeks, and the early call is widely seen as a cynical ploy by the ruling and cash-rich Conservatives to force the other, less well-financed parties onto the fiscal ropes before the campaign is done.

As I listen to our PM trot out the usual litany of excuses designed to scare us into submission - it's a scary world, filled with Jihadists and ISIL, and badly-behaved nation-states like Russia, and weak-willed economies like Greece, and rude tourist traps like Venice (OK, maybe not) - I can't help but think that he's hoping we're so scared of the Gawd-awful-risky alternatives that we'll be fear-mongered into voting him and his party back into office.

Welcome to the realities of politics in 2015, where the knives are unsheathed almost from the very moment the election is called. I love everything about Canada, everything we stand for and everything we have achieved as a nation. I love that we are seen as a light among nations for achieving global leadership without sacrificing our humanity and kindness. Yet I wonder how long that reputation will last if political opportunism and cynicism at the very apex of our power structure is allowed to persist.

I bristle whenever I'm asked to publicly share my political choices. Truth be told, my journalist's DNA renders me unable to fully trust any politician. Wherever we may live, there are too many pigs at the trough in the political space, and I've always seen a massive gulf between those who will sell their soul and the souls of their mothers to achieve and retain power, and those who tell the stories that hold them to account.

Maybe this election will give Canadians the opportunity to express their disgust with politicians who subvert the public agenda for their own selfish aims - provincial Liberals and gas plants, anyone? I'd like to say I'll hold my breath and hope this election campaign will finally turn the tide on political corruption and opportunism. But with 11 weeks between now and election day, I'd suffocate in the interim.

We've been played with by our supreme leaders yet again. Only this time we're the ones paying an even bigger bill for the privilege. Plus ca change...

Your turn: Why don't we trust our politicians?

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1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I don't trust most of them, but the ones I trust the most are lefties.

As for Harper, I'm south of the border, but I hear you Carmi. And agree with Ian.