Why I’m fuming, and have been since the election was announced:
$300 Million dollars were spent on this election, and nobody has achieved their goals, including PM Harper. Fiscally conservative my ass. The only party leader who undoubtedly has job security is Duceppe, and as Rick Mercer slyly noted tonight, “and he’s a separatist!”
An odd night, indeed. But here’s why I’m not entirely depressed:
1. Nothing really changes. It’s still a minority government. And if Harper wasn’t able to gain a majority now given the “favourable” conditions for him, it’s quite clear that he will not be able to gain a majority at any foreseeable point. Canadians aren’t as Conservative as Harper would like you to believe.
2. Harper really loses the election in the metaphorical sense. He called an election (illegally) a year early. The only conceivable reason he would do that is with the hopes of gaining a majority. He didn’t.
3. Harper lost in Quebec – a region which was central to his focus and the key constituency he needed to get a majority.
4. Harper wasn’t able to successfully capitalize on a weak Liberal leadership and gain a majority. Moreover, he resorted to cheap, faecal-filled tactics to try and knock him down. Canadians saw through this.
5. The importance of arts and culture funding was brought to the forefront of the Canadian political scene. It became quite clear how detrimental Harper’s myopic ideologies endanger the Canadian cultural identity, and even he himself changed his policies after being pressured.
6. This illegal election will have had the worst voter turnout in Canadian history. Canadians are quite plainly pissed off at the current state of government in Canada. Harper won the election, but he certainly didn’t unite Canadians or win the hearts and minds of the majority.
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I am, however, incredibly saddened, frightened, and disappointed by my fellow constituents in Thornhill who voted in Conservative candidate Peter Kent. By switching the colour of our riding to Conservative Blue after twenty years of being a staunch Liberal stronghold, Thornhill stands out amongst the Red blood of the GTA as a warning sign against the dangers of one-issue voting. Back home, voters were swayed by a “star” candidate who was able to win because of his “stance” on one issue – support of Israel. If I wasn’t so shocked, I could laugh at what I’m about to say…
I place the blame squarely on my fellow Jews. By and large, it is clear that Kent was able to win by duping many of Thornhill’s voting Jews into believing that he is more supportive of Israel than Liberal Susan Kadis. Just a drive through any of the Orthodox neighbourhoods in town is proof enough of where Kent’s support truly lies – blue and white signs adorn the lawns, and if you squint just enough, you might be able to convince yourself that you are looking at Israeli flags.
This is disastrous. It is a dangerous conflation of religion and politics.
I should make it patently clear that I’m not a sore loser. As a die-hard ENFP, I can at the very least respect the results of an election and the choices of the populous even if I disagree with the results. That’s democracy, folks. But I have little respect and great disdain for those who vote based on one campaign issue – let alone an issue that is a foreign affairs issue for parliament. Politics is a comprehensive thing. A government cannot govern based on one issue. Voters cannot vote based on one issue. Those who do have shirked their civic duty.
Even if you disregard that Canada is at best a minor player with regards to Israel in every way (at the UN, with the peace-process, with economic ties, etc…), and even if you disregard that Canada’s relationship with Israel has not changed substantially under any government, and even if you disregard that “support of Israel” is a highly tenuous and subjective term…
Voters still voted based on one issue, and a shady one at that. Shame on you.
I love Israel. I am an ardent Zionist, and I support Israel’s right to exist as a democracy even when I am vocal in criticizing some of her policies and actions. But this election was not about Israel, it was about Canada. It seems that Thornhill’s Jews have forgotten or ignored that.
So for the first time since I moved to New York, I am truly happy that I’m not in Thornhill. Watching from a distance is slightly less bitter. On that note, thanks are due to the CBC for unblocking their bandwidth and allowing us to watch the news live, from here in the States.