Why I’m not Entirely Depressed, and Why I’m Entirely Depressed

Results at the time of writing

Results at the time of writing

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.

* * *

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.

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9 thoughts on “Why I’m not Entirely Depressed, and Why I’m Entirely Depressed

  1. Kwini says:

    Don’t be ridiculous: suggesting that one should vote along religious or racial lines is far worse than voting for a ‘star’ candidate (as it happens, Kadis was the one to express affrontery that Peter had “stolen” her Jewish support – yeesh!). Peter is more than a celebrity: he has decades of experience in foreign and national affairs, and knows the Canadian political landscape inside out. He’ll do Thornhill proud.

  2. Serge says:

    The fact that you think Peter Kent was voted in based on the issue of Israel is frightening. As someone who lives in one of those so-called “Orthodox” neighbourhoods — my neighbours are Persian and Korean, we are traditional but not observant, and we all get along just fine — I can tell you have badly misunderstood.

    My wife and I voted for Peter Kent because we think he’s an excellent local representative, and we were more than ready for a change from Susan Kadis, who has done little during her terms in office. Kent deserved our vote and he will do well for us in Ottawa. This ranting about one-issue voting and “Thornhill’s Jews” is incorrect, unkind, misleading, and borderline racist.

    You talk about having little respect and great disdain. Your ill-informed and offensive blog posting merits exactly that.

  3. To Kwini:

    “Don’t be ridiculous: suggesting that one should vote along religious or racial lines is far worse than voting for a ’star’ candidate.”
    -My point exactly. I do not suggest that people should vote along religious lines. I suggested that the Conservative party’s sudden surge in Thornhill was in large part tied not to the overall platform of the Conservative party, but rather to one singular issue.

    “Peter is more than a celebrity: he has decades of experience in foreign and national affairs, and knows the Canadian political landscape inside out.”
    – Fair enough. But I never negated his qualities or experience. I simply stated that if people are going to vote for a candidate, they should do so on more than one issue.

    To Serge:

    “The fact that you think Peter Kent was voted in based on the issue of Israel is frightening.”
    -Then would you care to let me know on what other grounds he was voted in? I have a hard time beliving that in a riding like Thornhill, the Conservatives would all of a sudden amass the support that they did when the party didn’t even put out a platform until the DAY AFTER Orthodox Jews voted. Tell me then on what issues did he get voted in? How did people know what the party represented?

    “As someone who lives in one of those so-called “Orthodox” neighbourhoods — my neighbours are Persian and Korean, we are traditional but not observant, and we all get along just fine — I can tell you have badly misunderstood.”
    – This isn’t about multiculturalism or pluralism. I never suggested anything relating to that. I have not misunderstood anything. I’ve lived in Thornhill for my entire life up until now. I understand perfectly.

    “My wife and I voted for Peter Kent because we think he’s an excellent local representative, and we were more than ready for a change from Susan Kadis”
    – Fair enough. Then good for you, as my remarks were not directed at you, nor was there any indication that I held contempt for those who voted on other grounds.

    “This ranting about one-issue voting and “Thornhill’s Jews” is incorrect, unkind, misleading, and borderline racist.”
    -Incorrect? Please provide another plausible reason. Misleading? Then please provide another reason. Racist? Please… don’t kid yourself. I am an observant Jew, I work for a Jewish organization, and at no point did I insinuate any sort of Jewish conspiracy. I simply stated that if you are Jewish and you vote for a candidate solely based on one related issue – Israel, or funding of private parochial schools – then you are combining religion and politics in a dangerous mix and shirking your duty as a Canadian citizen.

  4. Serge says:

    Then would you care to let me know on what other grounds he was voted in?

    Seriously? Reread. My wife and I voted for him because we thought he seemed like he’d be a better local candidate than Susan Kadis. Policy-wise, we actually agreed with more of the Liberal platform. But we felt the Conservatives will be good economic stewards, they have steered things very ably, and Peter Kent is an able candidate. Foreign policy, to be honest, was not a major consideration.

    You claim to understand perfectly. Yet your sweeping generalizations don’t even apply to the few Thornhill Peter Kent voters who randomly happen upon your blog. How can you possibly think — excluding sheer arrogance, I suppose — that they can be generalized to the rest of the Thornhill Peter Kent voters?

    I simply stated that if you are Jewish and you vote for a candidate solely based on one related issue – Israel, or funding of private parochial schools – then you are combining religion and politics in a dangerous mix and shirking your duty as a Canadian citizen.

    First, no, you didn’t — you simply stated that most Thornhill Peter Kent voters did so because they are blindly focussed on a single issue. In your words: 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. That’s not a bunchs of ifs. It’s an empirical statement.

    That’s (a) a stereotype that (b) does not correspond to reality. For instance, none of the dozen or so Thornhill Peter Kent voters I talked to yesterday voted for that reason. That’s anecdotal evidence, but it’s a lot more of it than you’ve presented.

    If what you’re throwing down is anything more than a crude stereotype, then in what facts is it based? How, exactly, do you claim to know what you are claiming to know?

    Second, your assertion that it is incorrect to vote based on one issue or another is, quite frankly, silly and without basis. Not that it matters, but, everyone is allowed to decide the importance of each issue to them. That’s sort of the point of democracy.

    By the way. I am an observant Jew, … Um, no, you’re not. You’re posting on Sukkot chag. (Or perhaps you’re making an elaborate unspoken distinction between the “Orthodox” Jews who you stereotype above, and some other kind of Jew that you view yourself to be? If so, of course, the distinction holds.)

    Racist? Well, yes. This is not about you or who you are (or claim to be on a blog); it’s about the arguments and words you post. Fortunately, I have the right to criticise them.

  5. Jean Proulx says:

    Dear Jesse,

    I am a supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada and of Stéphane Dion. I was very inspired by the classy, substantive campaign that Mr. Dion ran during the election. Although our party did poorly I feel this was not so much a reflection on Mr. Dion as on a number of other factors (lack of election preparation due to snap election; internal dissension within the LPC, collusion between Stephen Harper and Jack Layton against Dion, negative advertising, the politics of fear, etc.)

    Now that the election is over and loyal Liberal volunteers are exhausted and inattentive, certain “anonymous senior liberals” aided by a hostile right-wing media are trying to force Mr. Dion out of his leadership position without even giving a chance for ordinary Liberal members to consider whether this is in the interests of our party or Canadian democracy. They present this as a fait accompli. They say that Mr. Dion is isolated and finished politically. What they do not realize though is that Mr. Dion is NOT isolated. Grassroots Liberals were energized and inspired by his campaign, by the Green Shift, by his refusal to play politics as usual. We do not believe that engaging in another self-destructive round of LPC leadership politics will serve our party or the country well. What we need to do now is to serve Canadians by concentrating on our role of official Opposition. We need to think seriously as a party about why we lost this election and how we can better organize ourselves to win the support of Canadian voters next time. We will not let this leadership coup succeed without being heard from.

    Go here to learn more about what we are doing and to join the revolt: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40161095228&ref=mf

    Best regards,
    Jean Proulx

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