This March, when the current federal Conservatives were found in contempt of Parliament and the government fell, a widespread reaction was, “We’re going to the polls again?? This is a stupid waste of money – we’re just going to end up with exactly the same situation.” (It’s been less than 3 years since the last federal election – we currently have a minority Conservative government, which, for our American friends, is as right-wing as we get up here.)
Cool Thing #1: Prime Minister Harper said, “Canadians don’t want another election,” and then Rick Mercer encouraged 18-25-year-olds to vote with his Vote Rant:
And it worked! He started this:
And there are now dozens of Vote Mobs popping up on university campuses all over the country. This movement is non-partisan, energetic, inspiring… and unprecedented. So HA, Stephen Harper.
Cool Thing #2: This is democracy in action. If the House of Commons, made up of elected representatives, decides on a vote of non-confidence in the government for reasons of corruption, I damn well DO want to go to the polls. I want to witness people furiously talking politics for five weeks, and I want to take time out of my day on May 2nd to exercise my right to vote. It’s not a burden, and I don’t know why people whine about it so much.
The need for fair government is manifesting itself all over the Middle East, and people are dying for their rights – and we are so spoiled here in Canada that many of us happily waste our precious votes, complaining that none of the candidates is worth voting for, or that it’s all a conspiracy set-up, or especially, “It doesn’t make a difference anyway, why bother?” I fervently agree that the electoral system is flawed – I wish it represented our votes more accurately… but would you rather not have the opportunity at all? Having the vote and blowing it off = lazy.
Cool Thing #3: As a voter who does not support the Conservatives, especially the current ones who seem to have effed up in more ways than usual [sorry for the cheesy self-censorship, but between teaching elementary school and being a mother of an extremely verbal 22-month-old, my bad words don’t stand a chance], I got a real kick out of Nino Ricci’s searingly well-written Open Letter to Stephen Harper. Particularly the part about Harper taking credit for Canada’s being relatively unscathed by the financial crisis.
Cool Thing #4: For the same reason, I enjoyed reading that Shit Harper Did went viral in a day, even if it’s not the most professional of websites.
Cool Thing #5: Similarly, I got a kick out of watching the French language leaders’ debate and hearing how much better Ignatieff and Layton speak French than Harper – poor Stephen sounded like such a dweeb. Petty but true. As a French teacher, I couldn’t help noticing.
Cool Thing #6: Even better, the leaders’ debate attracted record numbers of viewers – 26% more than the record numbers in 2008. Take that, apathy!
Cool Thing #7: I don’t know about other people’s, but my Facebook page is afire with political discussion, and I find it awesome. (What can I say, we teachers like seeing people engaged in life. 🙂 )
Also, I have learned some things about myself, thanks to this election… but that’s another story.