Canadian National Shout -- results

So, here are the results of our national election.

In the end, the scandals (HRDC, sponsorship), the gun registry and the callous disregard of the Liberal Party of Canada for regions that don't elect members to their government didn't cost them the government. It just cost them absolute power. Good enough for now.

I have mixed feelings over this election since I wanted to see more diversity in parliament and I wanted to see the Liberals reduced to the regional rump they've been so fond of accusing all the other parties of being over the last ten years. Neither of this happened.

At the same time as I wanted that, and at the same time that I agree with some aspects of the Conservative platform, I didn't want Canada to be drawn too closely into the orbit around the Bush White House.

So what did we get?
  • Liberal reduction: Canadians could have sent a message to the Liberals that the corruption they displayed in office over the last decade wasn't good enough, but unfortunately, only Qu&eactute;bec did that. Even more unfortunately, they did it by electing sovereigntists. I'm happy with half of that result, but not the other half.
  • Diversity: We have a sitting independent. Actually, he's a very popular Conservative member whose riding association and nomination process was hijacked by an interest group that was otherwise out of step with the bulk of their riding. This one can be played the other way: the members of the Conservative party who cared to get out to the nomination meeting spoke and Chuck Cadman's insistence on running anyways could be interpreted as sour grapes. The fact that he has cancer and may not live out his term will only enhance the human-interest aspects of this story.
  • Not like in America? Well, actually, if you look at the negative attack ads (filled, by the way, with mis- and dis-information) run by the party that said they would keep us from Americanization, you'd have to say that for non-America-cosy politicians they sure were acting like American politicians.
I think, by and large, we got what we deserved and the combination of minority and the lack of any real policy distance (except on certain talking points) between any of the three non-separatist parties bodes well for the survival of this minority quite a distance into the maximum five year term.


Pick the Mensch.

With my last post (on Americans stumping in Canada), out of politeness I tried to notify the three folks whom I mentioned in my comments. Only one of them replied. Can you guess which one?


Americans telling Canadians how to vote?

Q: What's less successful, more likely to back-fire, in Canada, than trying to buy Québecois loyalty to Federalism?
A: Americans telling Canadians how to vote.

We may like you folks, our neighbours to the south, as individuals, but we don't like your government, we only grudgingly appreciate aspects of your culture (but mostly because we have few other options and because so many Canadians have made it big in your market) and we don't like to be told what to do by you or by anyone else.

Imagine for a moment how much it would hurt a presidential campaign for foreigners to tell Americans not to vote for the other guy. It'd be a kiss of death, usually. We're no different from you on that score.

Your pundits would never have the gall to tell the Brits or the Spaniards how to vote. Latin Americans in the US would rise in anger at "brains" who presumed to tell the Mexicans how to vote (not to mention how that would affect the voters there if the word got out!). Why are they wasting their breath telling us?

Chances are, neither Ralph Nader nor Michael Moore (both of whom have told us whom not to vote for) understand the integrity issues that are very rightly dogging the Liberals (can you trust an insincere guardian of a social safety net?). And they probably don't realize that there are other parties, including the NDP (and even the Greens) who could come out of this election with surprising levels of influence. Our system is different enough that a Ralph Nader wouldn't be the same spoiler factor here as he was, say, in Oregon.

Who I'm going to vote for is my business and I choose to divulge that "publicly" to my ballot paper only. If you ask me whom in your election you should vote for, I might or might not tell you. I wouldn't think it appropriate for any public figures from up here in Canada to be telling you folks whom to vote for.

Ralph: loved the book (Unsafe...) but it's getting a little long in the tooth.
Michael: your movies knock me flat and they have made me think more lucidly.
You're both good at what you do, but when it comes to Canadian elections, you know not of what you speak. And as non-voters you have neither standing nor competence. Please, just be quiet and watch. Mr. Chomsky, another chap from your country who has opened my mental vistas, is saying nothing. There's an example you could both afford to follow.

If we ask you what you think, say it, by all means. But in the meantime, this is an election year in your own country: why don't you concentrate on that and let this one be.

Thank you.


Sound-byte moment:

President Lyndon Johnston declared War on Poverty. Today the poverty problem in the US is bigger than it's ever been.

President Richard Nixon declared War on Drugs. Today the drug problem in the US is bigger than it's ever been.

President George W. Bush declared War on Terror. Given the record, did the US really want him to do that?


Understanding the roots of the War on Terror

A co-worker encouraged me to read All the Shah's Men, Stephen Kinzer's exposé of the CIA's complicity in the downfall of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh (محمد مصدق) of Iran, Time Magazine's 1951 Man of the Year. From the Foreword, where an innocent question to a female Iranian writer results in a tirade against America: "Why did you do that to us? We believed you were on our side and then you betrayed us. We never understood then why America would co-operate with the British imperialists against our people."

Apparently that outburst pushed Kinzer to go back 50 years to understand how one month in 1953 affected 1979 so deeply; how it could still be echoing down the corridors of international relations between the US and the Middle East in 2004. The result is chilling. An honest assessment of all parties doesn't leave Mossadegh looking entirely like a saint but it's far more damning to the British, the Americans, and the various royal families of Iran from the 17th century forward.

Peace to Iran! and a government that takes its people's aspirations seriously!