Tag Archives: canada

Potpourri: A Round-Up of News, My Way

Hey, don’t forget, I have a new Victoria lifestyle blog I’ve been writing, about my new hometown.

Boy! Lots I could write about today. So, let’s do that then.

The Funny-Hat Guy is Leaving

The Pope’s retirement kicks in today. Fuck the Pope. I’d like to wish a happy retirement to the Nazi Pope & his child-molesting friends he’s protected during his papal ascendancy. Now fuck off and die. Oh, right, that’s what he’s trying to do.

There, that’s done.

Exposing Child-Porn Apologists

This asshole who used to advice Canada’s Prime Minister (fuck the PM too) says that looking at child porn doesn’t do any harm to anyone.

From the Huffington Post:

I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures,” Flanagan said. “I don’t look at these pictures.”

After saying that he has long been on the mailing list of the Man Boy Love Association, Flanagan made the statement that triggered the loudest jeers from the audience.

It is a real issue of personal liberty, to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

Fuck you, Flannagan. Child porn pictures don’t just happen by magic. A kid was violated for them.

If you look at child porn, possess it, or share it, you are condoning the commission of that violation.

I can’t even fathom the notion of defending looking at child porn as a personal freedom. Possessing child porn to me is on the level of knowing a rape is happening at a party you’re attending and choosing to do nothing to stop it.

It’s against the law, we all know it, and to be consuming child pornography while claiming you’re just another Average Joe Citizen, man… I wish shit-kickings were legal, some days, because some things are just so reprehensibly wrong my skin crawls. Enough said on that.

Science Says I’m Happy to Be Grumpy

My worldview in a photograph, shot this Monday by moi on Victoria’s Dallas Road. Sun, storm, turbulent ocean — it ain’t clear sailing, but isn’t it fucking beautiful? And that’s life.

In happier news, a study says being a pessimist will likely lead you to a longer life. From the Telegraph:

Older people blighted by pessimism and fear for the future are more likely to live longer, according to scientists.

A study, into 40,000 adults across ten years, has found those with low expectations for a “satisfying future” actually led healthier lives.

In contrast, people who were “overly optimistic” about the days ahead had a greater risk of disability or death within ten years.

I can’t stand when people are always insisting I cheer up or smile or whatever online. (You would likely not say that in person, because I smile a lot and tend to be real funny and engaging.)

My worldview is just fine, thanks, kids. I can come across biting, jaded, and cynical, but I describe myself as a realist. My worldview in short form?

Few problems are insurmountable. I believe people working together can accomplish incredible things. I think politics are, by and large, corrupt and that dreaming of radical Utopian change is kind of futile because a good chunk of mankind is, by nature, corrupt. Things will never be perfect, but they’ll always be worth getting up for in the morning.

I think for every awful person I’ve ever known, I’ve probably known five who took the bad taste out of my mouth. For every person who’s crushed me, several have lifted me up. And yet I don’t think there’s more than a handful of people I can trust with my life, but I also believe we kind of stop looking for more as we grow up as we get comfortable in our routines.

I believe my life will never be perfect, and my health will probably never be perfect either. I believe long stretches of life will occur where I’m moody or depressed.

And yet I think those times will pass. I will have good days that make all others worth enduring. I will always have my wit and wisdom to get me through.

Whatever my flaws, whatever life’s imperfections, I think the world’s full of surprises. Not all good, not all bad.

And that’s fine for me.

But if you wanna run around trying to make yourself upbeat, believe that EVERYTHING is possible, and have this YAY, EVERYTHING’S WONDERFUL worldview, knock yourself out. Because here’s the thing. Nothing’s ever always wonderful. Shit happens. That’s life. And when you perch yourself on a high pedestal of happy expectations, don’t be surprised when that knock to the ground one day comes and you’re not able to be resilient because you weren’t expecting realism.

Instead of dreaming everything’s perfect, enjoy the ups and downs, because like most great philosophers have said, that’s where life comes — in the Yo-Yo of good/bad existential juxtaposition. Happy, sad. Extremes. Like the mystic Kahlil Gibran writes:

“Only great sorrow or great joy can reveal your truth.
If you would be revealed, you must either dance naked in the sun, or carry your cross.”

And that’s not a bad thing. My losses, my injuries, all my worst moments make my present fantastic, even in its boring consistency, because I know how tough life has been in the past and I have a realistic appreciation of how good it is to just be able to work and live a simple life. I enjoy the moment right now, and do so more often than I likely have in a decade or more.

I need nothing extraordinary for happiness today. I feel, realistically, that this is as good as it gets this week, and that next week is not yet written.

As far as worldviews go, I’m okay with that.

***

And that’s a wrap. Happy weekend, minions.

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The CBC Bleeds: Life inside the Zeitgeist

As I type this, Canadian’s national broadcaster CBC is bleeding heavily after being gutted by budgeting cuts imposed by a national government that sees no value in Canadians having a free and informed press, and loathes a national culture that often indulges in mockery and satire at our government’s expense.

The CBC will survive today, but at what strength, I don’t know.

Without a real breakdown for me to compare existing jobs versus those that will be cut, and so forth, I’m mostly blowing smoke out of my ass if I speak to numbers or measurable consequence, so I’ll stick to peripherals and ideologies rather than facts. Proof I’m smarter than I look.

This gutting today, the “surgical” cutting of budgets, speaks to Stephen Harper’s government, who’ve shown a disdain for anything based in science, culture, or public interest.

I don’t even want to go there, right now, though.

This moment, here, now, what has me sad is the change to our culture. Whether it’s small theatre or the CBC, Canada has its own bent when it comes to what flies, culturally.

It’s why some American show like Arrested Development might barely get a following in the US but is a runaway hit in Canada — we see things differently from our American friends. We like bleakness. We’re big on books and words, have a great ability to comprehend complicated plots. We’re completely oddball when in comes to humour, proven by ex-pats like SNL’s creator Lorne Michaels, or Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, and pretty much anyone else who’s made $10 million or more for acting in comedies.

Some question if that weird worldview is borne of our “bi-polar weather” — amazing short summers with endless winters. Maybe it’s the great beer, or the wide open spaces where you get to really be alone with the voices in your head, or the way we’ve always needed community for surviving in the wilds of this Great Northern Land.

There’s something about Canadians that’s just different from Americans, and every effort to encapsulate it falls short.

Nation-wise, we’re often depicted as being the little guy who needs his big strong friend to pick him out of trouble spots.

But like most people with self-esteem issues, the reality is very different from what the perception might be.

We’re not really the ineffective little friend that needs Big Dude’s help.

Instead, we’ve got a crack military force. Our education consistently ranks with considerably higher results than USA’s. We’ve got more natural resources than most countries could ever dream of. We’re the fourth largest oil provider in the world, and one of the best beer providers. We’re funny as fuck and have long been the backbone of the American comedy industry. We once had more writers per capita than anyone in the world, probably still do. We’re polite. We’re a massive country with a little population, and somehow we not only have infrastructure everywhere, but we also have universal healthcare.

Sorry, eh?

Granted, a lot of those places where we rock are places our budgets have been cut, funding slashed, and the glimmers of hope dimmed, but hey. It’s what we are.

So, today, I’m of two minds.

One, I understand why the slashing is happening. I know that, like most public organizations, there are a lot of deadbeat managers and redundant positions, but I also understand that when these cuts happen, it’s not the deadbeat managers who are gutted, and when more and more of the supposedly “redundant” positions are hacked, it starts bleeding into the quality of the overall product.

Take a look at the shitty barely-researched articles offered by so-called “online reporters” for newspapers like The Vancouver Sun these days as an example of what happens when you keep lowering the bar on employees due to this perceived need to have “new news” every moment of the day. I worry that this will be what happens to a once-great CBC. And then Harper will be as happy as a pig in shit.

Two, I know we’re on the cusp of a new time. When printed music first appeared, it changed everything in the world of musicians and concerts. We’re at that point now with digital media. Suddenly, we don’t need newspapers, or record companies, or book publishers. We’re turning into a world much like that of 400 years ago, where artists are back to distributing their own content, and it comes truly down to who’s got the best way with the world instead of who’s standing with the biggest corporation marketing machine behind them.

The CBC, like every other entertainment giant in the world, has got to feel the pinch from the fact that it’s now by ourselves or fancy third-party apps that we aggregate our news, culture, information, and images from a variety of sources. We don’t need reporters or people who were cultivated by a corporation to try and figure out what the hot-new-thing-now is, because we’re better judges than most industry hacks ever could be — we have no advertisers to appease, talking heads to curtail us, or shareholders to satisfy. We just have to find cool shit to watch, read, hear, or circulate, and it doesn’t matter who’s behind it.

How the CBC could escape that changing reality in this modern age, well, that’s entirely beyond my imagination.

It doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t break a little today. It doesn’t mean I wish we could resolve this in a way that doesn’t mean hundreds of jobs vanish, shows go unproduced, and content-creation begins treading even softer so as to avoid becoming a part of the gutting.

The CBC was a huge part of my upbringing back when we got five channels and most of what we watched was on CBC. The CBC was the voice in the night when I moved to the Yukon and had only radio to keep me company before I met any locals. The CBC is, in many ways, synonymous for me in thinking of what “My Canada” means.

So. Yes. We’re at a difficult point, to be sure.

It’s like anything. Some things need to die before others can be born. We’re alive during a drastically changing zeitgeist.

Culturally, the upheaval is incredibly hard to handle.

But, underneath it all, deep down, waiting for its moment, it is truly the time of the Individual. Or: The Viral Age.

It means we’ll have fewer corporations to do us the favour of weeding out the crap. We’ll be subject to more and more mediocrity. But once in a rare while, someone who’s truly unique and has great talent will break free and get noticed in the wide world of the web, and we’ll all share the link.

Or maybe not.

And that’s life in the zeitgeist for you: Everything you love changes; there are no guarantees.

And sometimes it’s really fucking sad to watch that becoming the case.

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A Dissenting Voice Against Stephen Harper

I never thought I could feel my reputation as a Canadian in the world was sullied, but then Stephen Harper came to town.

Under Stephen Harper, since 2006, Canada has enjoyed George W. Bush-quality leadership.

Rejecting climate change, encouraging destructive environmental practices like the tar sand oil refineries, creating division and hate between right and left, the Harper Government is anything but about bringing Canada together.

They practice active misinformation, enjoy peppering the news with stories aimed at distracting Canadians hot-button issues (by way of talking about changing Oh Canada lyrics, and other foolishishness), and use scary rhetoric on issues of catastrophic importance, like Iran (because, hey, war is good!).

Stephen Harper, like George Bush, seems to have a “divine right” sense of rule, like old-time monarchs who believed they came to power with their bloodline because the gods deemed it so.

The latest issues in Canada?

Harper wants to build more prisons. He wants to impose mandatory sentencing on crimes.

And he wants to give the government and law enforcement the right to invade personal privacy in email, on cellular transmissions, and more.

And, with a majority government, the odds are in his favour.

Oh, Canada… indeed.

I’m not the only one who’s concerned that the government is looking to expand the books on law, push for tougher sentencing, and increase incarceration capacities at the same time that they want to invade a nation’s privacy.

Hey, baby — incarceration is good for business when you’re trying to appease the big business that got you elected, like Stevie is. Here’s to self-incrimination and the web! Now, about those emails…

Aw, who’s kidding who? Nothing’s REALLY private on the web. Want private? Stay off the web. But that doesn’t mean I’m gonna sit by and watch more and more of my privacy erode with a great, big government-approved snooping stamp on a new law, thanks.

You can’t assume an entire country’s in on crime and throw open the doors to electronic monitoring. It didn’t work well under McCarthy or Hoover, and it won’t work here. Creating more paranoia and suspicion isn’t what Canadians need, Harper.

When I grew up, I’m sorry, but I grew up believing Canada was more free than the United States.

Pierre Trudeau said government had no business in the bedrooms of Canadians in 1969. We allowed free speech, but not hate speech. When slaves fled the US back in the day, they came here. My dad gave me a book on the Underground Railway when I was 10, so I had this pretty noble view of Canada in the world.

We had so much pristine nature, so many parks. We had so much to be proud of, and my parents raised me to believe that.

It wasn’t till I got to travel, see the north and the prairies, that I realised the immensity of how little a population we were in such a great, big land. Like a 5-year-old wearing his father’s clothing, there are wide expanses of beautiful nothing where population has yet to grow, even now.

These days, those naively innocent feelings on how great Canada is are a thing of the past, as much as I still love what being Canadian means to ME. I only dream we can bounce back after Harper with a leader who inspires people on the world stage, like Obama, who didn’t turn out to be the second coming, but he’s certainly sitting pretty now.

Under Harper, the erosion of privacy, the divisiveness, the refusal to work with — let alone not LEAD — the world on the issue of climate change and the Kyoto Treaty, elimination of arts and equality funding, our declining stance on human rights around the globe, and so many other issues make me cringe when I think of how far Canada has fallen in the eyes of the world.

Because it’s our fault. We haven’t allowed Stephen Harper to get into office ONCE. We’ve elected him THREE TIMES.

No leader of Canada has ever disgusted me as much as Harper does, and it’s the apathy of the voting public and the lack of turnout at polls that’s to blame.

Now, Harper and his henchpeople want to stomp all over your privacy.

Are you gonna let them do that? Or are you gonna take 30 seconds out of your life to sign this petition, to tell Harper, Toews, and co. to go fuck themselves when it comes to reading your emails and snooping on your phone calls?

Join OpenMedia.ca and fight the invasion of privacy that will tie up cops’ time and raise your utility costs. Sign here.

And start speaking up.

This is OUR Canada. Harper has a MAJORITY MANDATE until October, 2015. We need to stand together to keep the Canadian pendulum swinging too far left. I’m in. Are you?

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Goodbye, Jack

We forever hear that there aren’t enough good people in politics, and today Canada mourns the loss of one of its greatest Good People.

A consummate battler for social good and civic justice for well over 30 years, Jack Layton struck a chord coast to coast as he stunned the nation with a massive come-from-behind effort that split Canada’s left and delivered the Official Opposition to the NDP for the first time ever.

Layton was the kind of man more should aspire to be. He was a leader who truly cared about the little guy. People would tell stories about how he’d approach out of the blue on the street, or how he was as earnest one-on-one in private as he was in front of thousands. They talk about how he’d get chatty with his servers in restaurants, to find out what their biggest concerns were, or how he still identified with families, the youth, and the elderly.

There wasn’t anyone, it seemed, that Jack Layton wasn’t passionate about helping.

No matter who you were or what your politics were, it was hard not to see Jack Layton as a real guy who was doing something because he was genuinely moved to live in a better world than the one we have now.

When a good chunk Canada turned around and voted for the NDP this spring, they were voting for Jack Layton, because he said we could do it. Because he said there was hope and that we had to care more about each other, not just our tax return.

It’s yet another victory for cancer.

But Jack Layton’s life was a victory for decency. His legacy will be a victory for civic service.

It’s been a long, long time since a politician moved me like this on a personal level. I’m hoping that, today, kids are seeing the outpouring of passion for this politician and are thinking “I’d like to be loved like that,” and maybe, just maybe a future of change is being created in that young mind today.

Because, like Jack says:

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

With that, we say farewell, Jack. You were the right man at the right time. It’s a national tragedy your time was cut short. We will remember, and love, you.

RIP Jack Layton. 1991 Star Trek Convention

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My Ever-Evolving Definition of “Being Canadian”

I’m 37 and I’m still not really sure what “being Canadian” means.

We’re a hodgepodge of nations, Spackled together with generational waves of immigrants who land here, retain some of their culture, and absorb others, and blend it all together in a delightful Canadian cultural smoothie that has oddly distinct flavours throughout.

We’re a sum of all our parts, always have been, so, as the world ebbs and flows through times of geopolitical strife, those seeking Canadian citizenship have changed greatly over the decades. From Poles to Jews to Hindus to Cambodian and Vietnamese, decade after decade, we’ve seen changing tides, and it changes who we are.

In a way, that’s a large part of Canada, an ever-changing reflection of the world’s times and its migrating peoples.

Somehow, a line in the sand separates us from our American friends, known around the world as brash and outspoken citizens, and we’re known to all as the continent’s meeker, milder types.

I’m the perfect age for knowing that Being-Canadian-Then versus Being-Canadian-Now has morphed considerable over time. Our sense of national identity has shifted through the decades, which is part of why I’m unsure about what my national identity means at times. Add that my city is the youngest, fastest-changing city in this country, and my somewhat untethered identity kind of computes.

My confusion is compounded when I visit the United States. Cross the 49th, and it’s a country dotted heavily with billboards selling the military as a career choice, and Jesus as Saviour. A land seemingly built on agriculture is littered with fast food chains that barely represent the nation’s great produce. The richest country in the world, at one time, and it doesn’t even provide ongoing medical care to all its citizens. The class divide is like a fault-line cutting across every American city, and Detroit is a harrowing postcard of its industrial decline.

The USA seems a land that comes together as well as any in times of national crisis — like 9/11 and Katrina — and shows the world what a great people it has, but somehow doesn’t provide a social safety net because the belief of “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” means no comprehensive safety net for you. It’s a place where socialism is a bad word, despite an “in it together” mentality that comes out with every natural disaster.

You step into Canada, and we’re in it together both in word and in deed, our income tax system is proof. We pay more but get more, but not as much as we once got.

There are problems here, too. Some native communities are like third-world outposts. Vancouver’s Downtown East Side has long been rife with drugs, poverty, homelessness, and an AIDS/HIV rate that once was among the highest in the industrial world, but that’s been changing a lot too. Environmentally, we’re even now committing great sins with our natural bounty, and our personal freedoms aren’t quite as flexible as they once were.

We’re far from perfect here in Canada. But every country is.

Beyond that imperfection, there’s the people, the land, and the humour.

I’ve travelled coast to coast in this country, I’ve lived above the 60-degree line of latitude. There’s no place in Canada that I don’t love.

But how do I nutshell a country that’s this huge? How does a country with 202,000 kilometres of coastline and 10 million square-kilometres of landmass, that’s the most multicultural nation in the world, with only 144 years of history get crammed into an easy-to-define class?

It’s impossible.

From the safe passage allowed to African-Americans during slavery to our shameful treatment of the Japanese in WWII to our not-too-distant slap on the wrist from the UN for neglect of native rights, there’s a long and storied history of Canada embracing human rights in an inconsistent way, but for every failure we’ve had, there’s also been a shining moment.

Today, we’re a country that generally embraces knowledge, human rights, culture, and good times. We tend to love nature and the world around us. Because it’s as expensive to travel to the other side of the country as it is to visit the rest of the world, we’re pretty well-travelled beyond our borders, so we know it’s a bigger world than just us.

Unfortunately, that also means our talent migrates, a problem we domestically call “The Brain Drain.” After all, other countries have more flash and money, like the UK and USA, and money’s a nice thing, since our taxes are high. We get it.

Fortunately, our talent deserves the global recognition it receives. Over the decades, our writers, singers, actors, and painters have been celebrated as world-class. We read more per capita than any other country and we write more, too. From Mary Pickford, Louis B. Mayer, and the Warner Brothers, early Hollywood was built by Canadians. Today, William Shatner is loved around the world and Jim Carrey remains one of the highest paid movie stars.

We’re definitely the mild-mannered types who say please and thank you, but our favourite sport involves black eyes, high-speed collisions, institutionalised fighting, and some of the most aggressive gameplay on earth.

With almost a tenth the population of the United States but only narrowly more land mass, Canada feels like a vast and empty land once you get outside the cities. Sprawling and impressive in its expanse, some of it, like the poet Robert Service once wrote, is so isolated and desolate that there’s “a silence that bludgeons you dumb.”

I’ve always believed that Canada’s geographical spread/disconnect and the long winters with long nights are a part of why we’ve been such an imaginative, artistic, expressive land. To bridge that expanse, we now use the internet more per capita than most of the world. It seems to be changing our sense of disconnect as the use of social media grows.

We’re a changing country, Canada.

In my lifetime, we’ve gone from thinking we were an international afterthought to seeing Pierre Elliot Trudeau spin his famous pirouette behind the Queen, netting international headlines, showing we had a sense of humour and a less subservient sense of self than we’d always had. Some were horrified at the disrespect to the monarch, but many others felt as though the shackles of Commonwealth submissiveness began lifting then.

The Constitution came home a few years later. By then, we were known for the Beachcombers, Anne Murray, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Gordon Lightfoot. Another television show began to get a lot of attention, and would influence Hollywood for the next decade — SCTV.

Bryan Adams would soon be singing about the Summer of ’69. Michael J. Fox would become the heart-throb burning up the silver screen. By age 13, I’d started feeling like being Canadian seemed to mean something more than had been let on to me.

We were starting to feel like we weren’t just the little sibling with hand-me-downs from the United States. Suddenly we were wanted at the party — our music, our books, our stars, our culture, our funny… our natural resources.

These days, our dollar has parity with the United States, we’re the world’s 4th-largest oil producer, and Justin Bieber is King of the World.

I don’t really know what “being Canadian” means right now. I suppose it’s time I find out what the ever-morphing national identity is right this minute, but that’s part of why Canada is so incredible.

We’re not one country. We’re not stoic, stagnant. Where the United States’ founding fathers intended their constitution to be an ever-evolving document, Canada has somehow managed to be an ever-changing land that continually reflects the people who are building it — and, as their faces change, so does ours.

I’m proud of that. We reflect the modern world as well as any nation can. I love what Canada represents in my foggy, identity-muddled brain — even if Stephen Harper is the motherfucking Prime Minister right now.

I’ll forgive you for that, for now, Canada. But sharpen up. If we keep making good beer and bacon, we’ll overcome him, too.

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Emotional Hangover: The Morning After

A Conservative majority was elected in with barely 60% of the country’s registered voters caring enough to do their civic duty.

For all you cynics out there who bitch about governments then don’t vote, claiming “it doesn’t work anyhow,” you get the government you deserve: A government that legislates as it sees fit because too many of its residents are more pleased to whine and moan about policies than get involved.

It’s devastating.

I don’t know what I’m more angry about today — that some 40% of registered voters never showed up, never mind the eligible asshats who’ve never bothered to register — OR the fact that some ridings had, say, 70+% of residents voting for several LEFT-wing candidates, but because none could amass a sizable lead, a Conservative could win with less than 30%.

Our system is broken. It’s a fucking joke.

I’m forced to strategically cast a YES/NO vote because I’m more concerned with end-numbers and whose figurehead will get into power as our Prime Minister, because Canadians vote for one Member of Parliament for their little pocket of the world, a “riding.” The dude(tte) who wins the “riding” goes to Ottawa and represents that town/city/region, and their “seat” is counted into a total, and whomever’s party wins the most “seats” out of the 308 available then forms the ruling government. We don’t vote for a leader, just our local MP.

Minority/majority breaking point is at 155 seats. The Conservatives didn’t just win, they spanked the Left.

With 167 right-wing seats, there’s a whopping 26-vote lead over the 141-seat TOTAL opposition. That’s four political parties that somehow have to work together and still have about a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding at defeating measures that are likely to throw the Canadian social safety net’s sanctity into question.

I expected the Conservatives to win, and secretly wouldn’t have minded it. I didn’t want a majority. I wanted a weak minority, mostly because I do fear messing much with the national financial mix in a world where the global economy has the stability of hitching a unicycle ride with a drunk.

I’m not a fan of extremism in any form.

I was a profoundly religious child who grew up with bad experiences in the Catholic church, I’ve seen both sides of the financial coin from a first-person-life point of view, have paid for my own education and worked my way through school, have seen what abuse and addiction and crime can do to families, and how long even smart, capable people can be unemployed in hard times. My politics are absolutely shaped by my experience, but as sympathetic as I am to the left, I favour a more centrist view. Too bad that party got smoked like Bob Marley on a fatty last night.

I’m scared of a majority government that stands unsympathetic to most of the issues I hold dear, with a party run by a man who has shown tones of wishing autocracy was doable in Canada, and who is profoundly religious, and who I consider one of the SHREWDEST political tacticians Canada has ever seen.

I’ve said over the years that Harper was like a man on a tight-rope who understands to his very core what the advantage of balance was when faced with a minority government. Has he pushed his limits in the past? Yes, but not often.

Will he seek that balance now that he has nearly a 10% lead over the combined opposition? Heh. Insert cynical chuckle here.

I find it hard to believe a man who tried to rename the country’s government from “The Government of Canada” to the “Harper Government” is likely to squelch any ambitions now that he’s been handed a broad mandate.

I’d love to be wrong.

So, today I’m stuck here with this pretty sullen state of mind as I realize this is the shape of the government until October, 2015. Someone last night said “Cheer up, the Americans suffered 8 years with Bush and got Obama!” I countered with, “Yeah. We’ve suffered 7 years under Harper to get 4.5 more years of Harper. Great.”

Canada’s system is broken on several levels.

Our citizens, with their apathy and refusal to get involved, are a mockery of democracy. You people don’t even deserve to vote. You don’t deserve the advantages of a socialist nation if you refuse to participate in its operation. And that’s what you’re going to get, a lack of social systems, more prisons, and more defense spending, because that’s the platform you elected. You embraced the status quo by choosing to have NO vote.

So, you get what you apathetically chose, Canada.

My parents used to take me along on the odd election day. They said, this is what you do when you live in democracy, you vote. They taught me civic responsibility. Have you taught your kids? Or are you teaching them cynicism and that you have zero power to change the world? Are you okay with that? Are you okay with your friends raising kids that way?

People often say “Oh, we have no real power anyhow.”

Yes, you do. If you, and enough like-minded people, all believe and fight for something, you can get it. Sometimes it’s as easy as putting check-marks on paper.

It’s called voting. It’s powerful. It shapes laws that define everything from how much tax is on your bottle of wine tonight to whether your kid can afford university or whether your spouse will be struggling to pay medical bills after your death like Americans do, or just mourning you like Canadians usually do.

So, way to fuck that one up, you 40% who didn’t show up, and the countless others who’ve just never registered.

The take away I’m hoping to see grow into something bigger?

  • Justin Trudeau won his riding, and as much as he’s been a bit of an idiot in the past, the Liberal party is too important to his family’s legacy for him not to get a reality-check slap in the face and grow up FAST as far as developing a political acumen goes. He’s his father’s son, and I can’t see him not reading this election correctly and growing very quickly from the experience. If anyone can resurrect some of Canada’s dream for its left-of-centre roots, it’s a Trudeau–but the kid has a lot of savvying-up to do. (The whole family in fur coats on a Christmas card. Really, Justin? Sable farmers are a big electoral backer? Slick.)
  • The NDP are more likely to continue in an idealistic point of view, and I think the country needs that with all the crap going on in the world today, and given more time to campaign, they might have turned this election into something for the history books. They don’t have the economic know-how to get this country through tough financial times YET, but they have 4.5 years to really strap on those big-boy pants and get sound policies that embrace reality rather that fairytale finance.
  • A lot of people I see who are smart, motivated, and driven are now wanting to get involved politically, because it’s clearly not happening with the people we’ve got.
  • The chance of Canada’s political system melding down into fewer politics are stronger this morning than they’ve ever been. While I loathe the one-or-the-other system in the United States, the alternative in Canada hasn’t exactly floated my boat either. Maybe less is more in a frustrating political time like this.

This morning, I’m trying not to conjure my inner-Darth Vader and give in to the Dark Side, but it’s really hard to pretend to have optimism about Canada’s future.

Four and a half years… that’s a long-ass time, friends. That’s a big majority.

We need more anger in Canada. The passive-aggressive bend-over-and-take-it nature that seems to come with a Canadian passport really shows up come election time, and it’s tired and old.

We should expect more. We’re Canada, for fuck’s sake.

If YOU care, then you have 4.5 years to make your compatriots care.

No vote is a vote for the status quo.

You wanted it? You got it. Enjoy your government.

Me, I’m just getting started.

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