Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Great Canadian Debate
Perhaps it's unfair of me to blame Steve, Mick (or Mike), Jack and Gilles for my (visceral?) reaction to tonight's English language leaders' debate. They presented their positions fairly and articulately in the two hours, neatly dodging the slings and arrows of their opponents without stumbling too badly over their own precariously positioned party lines. Each offered his considered, or scripted, argument for his party being best able to lead Canada into a brighter 2012, and actually managed to provide a little bit of light along with the heat.
I was a little disappointed that Elizabeth May was not offered her own little lectern along with the rest o' th' boys, but I suspect that she wasn't any more surprised than I was. Given the right play, it might even gain the Green Party more votes than her participation in the debate would have done. We Canadians have wonderfully thin, sensitive skins when we perceive an injustice to someone whom we consider small and harmless.
After the debate had ended, and the lads had answered the usual probing questions from the media, it was time for the National to chime in. Peter Mansbridge and company devoted the majority of their hour to dissecting the stiffening corpse of the debate. First, they consulted their most reliable oracles, who pronounced a consensus of apathy in the minds of the eligible voters. There had been no knockout punch, nor any blood drawn - nobody even had the lead on points. Next, they interviewed said eligible voters, whom they discovered loitering about an upscale, downtown Toronto watering-hole - as usual. 'Nuff said.
Having dismissed the uninformed and the unwashed (you and me, that is), Peter then sought the advice of those whose opinions really matter. Allan, Andrew and Chantal satisfied everybody's expectations by being their habitual smirking, superior, smarmy selves. They told us what th' boys had said, what they really meant to say, and why the solutions suggested by each just wouldn't wash. This election was costing us too much, they said. No one in the country had even wanted it, they reminded us, so we were all free to ignore it and go back to the important business of the hockey playoffs. After all, it wasn't like the election mattered - the only change was going to be a Conservative majority this time...
Lastly, Peter interviewed the Insiders, one Conservative and one Liberal spin doctor. And no, I couldn't tell which one was which either.
ONE MORE TIME...on Monday, the second of May, in the Year Two Thousand and Eleven, you will have the opportunity to VOTE in a FEDERAL ELECTION!
Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe aren't running in my riding. My friend Libby Davies is. I admire her and like the way she's represented my vote in her past few terms. She has it yet again. I can't speak for the Tall Lady - I wouldn't dare to try. The Flying Fellini Sisters will take whatever comes.
One of my more cynical friends once told me that if you are forced to choose between a thief and a liar, choose the thief - you know what to expect from him.
All of you know the issues. You know your candidates and you know their platforms. You know the kind of country in which you want to live. You are grownups, and you know that your choice is not limited to a thief or a liar. We can do better this time, we should do better this time. Your vote does count! It always has, and it always will.
You are the experts - make them listen to you. Make your mark - BIG!