Very Clear Across The Table

This is going to be a long post. And it’s going to be scattershot. And it’s going to be a little emotional.

Allow me to start out right:



And I missed the French debate last night, and I am an IDIOT. And I missed some of the English debate tonight and I am EVEN MORE OF AN IDIOT.

I already know, have known for years (!) who I’ll be voting for. But this is a wonderful advance in the way we do these things, and it’s worth watching for all kinds of reasons. And I want MORE. Canadian Bloggers, won’t one of you start up a Facebook group or something called “LET’S DO THIS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, CANADA”? I’m fucking thrilled by this debate format, we should’ve been doing this for years already, this is progress, this is the first step in creating the future…

I have friends who are voting federally for the first time this month. This is my dream debate for them. I only wish I had had this available to me on my first federal election. This. Is. GOLD.


And now on to the scattershot stuff.

In no particular order:

We have a good mix this year — a JLA of Canada, a Herman’s Head of Canada — just the wrong roles, and so the wrong idea.

Jack Layton should be performing in radio plays. He has a fantastic ally in his old-timey voice. Also he does an excellent job of keeping to the time limit! (Also: Brian Mulroney should be hosting the CBC-FM jazz show at 10 p.m. “Hello, this is Brian Mulroney, and tonight we’re going to be listening to a little Coltrane to start things off with…” That’s just ONE of Ed’s many brilliant ideas for improving Canadian politics and entertainment…and if anything could improve Mulroney’s image, being a late-night jazzhound would probably be it.)

I wanted to like Elizabeth May, I really really did…and guess what? I FUCKING DO. Where has this parliamentarian been all my life? I LOVE HER. SHE IS MY SARAH PALIN. I am tempted to move to her riding just so I can vote for her.

Even fucking Harper looks good in this format. I keep thinking he would be good in Opposition. Of course he feels Opposition is beneath him, and his ideas about governance that were ever any good, all went stale circa 1982. Also, he’s on about that “we’ve been very clear about this”, “I just want to be very clear about this” “let me be very clear” bullshit leave-me-alone recipe that conservative politicians always fall back on when they want everybody else to shut the fuck up about how they lied, lied, LIED, and fucked up EVERYTHING…!

I think I’ve been very clear about this: Harper’s an asshole. The only reason anyone ever votes for him is because he’s an asshole. That’s it.

Dion looks passionate, caring, committed, and interested. Where’s this fucking guy been hiding? Say, don’t I remember him from before? The fiery federalist with the appetite for the jugular? “Alert, Joyful, Courageous”? He wants to win me back; he wants my love, not in a dirty “I’ll make every secret dream come true for you” beady-eyed Jack Layton way, but in a “remember what we had? And then you didn’t want it anymore? Well, you were right…we can’t go back to the way things were…and so I will GIVE YOU THIS RING MY LOVE…!” way. God help me, I thought the Liberals couldn’t sell me soap anymore, but I think I just bought some…sell me some more, please, Stephane! You mad futureneer, you! Take me away to your vast revenue-neutral climate-change crisis/opportunity PARADISE IN THE STARS! We will bathe in the waterfall, pluck fresh mangoes from the trees, live on love. Fuck it, those Liberals made the right decision: Ignatieff would’ve alienated ten million people tonight, easily. Bob Rae — as much as I love and respect him and envy his talent and creativity — would have been, as the kids say, “pwned” by Duceppe, the ultimate Parliamentary logician. But Dion is Duceppe’s Fenris-Wolf: they won’t really fight, before the time of Ragnarok comes.

Duceppe is, as always, just about as canny-looking as it’s possible for a politician to be. For the record, I don’t dislike separatists. Um, except for Parizeau and Bouchard, either of whom I would have cheerfully punched in the face, last time around. But other than that, well, it’s a free country. And look: Duceppe never fucking lies. Honestly! He may deceive, sure…but he doesn’t lie. Because he has to answer to the people of Quebec. Take this business about carbon-voucher trading, or whatever buzzword they’re calling it by this week…Duceppe really likes it, and you know why? Because it is good for Quebec, because Quebec can outperform other polities in the environmental sphere and so make the shitloads of money, that any new autonomous state needs to be independent of its bigger, more powerful neighbours. But Duceppe also says “good for Quebec” every five seconds — he’s not hiding anything.

He’s not fooling anyone, either…!

And yet this is a good system: because if politicians aren’t thinking about what’s good for Quebec, then fuck ’em, because Quebec’s our biggest province, and the second most populous, and it’s where a lot of the newest Canadians go, and a lot of the oldest reside. Any Prime Minister is going to be accused by the rest of Canada (sorry, I don’t capitalize that shit) of favouring Quebec with government contracts and loot — because that’s what every Prime Minister ends up doing. The question is, what are you going to say about it, when asked? It’s the only reason Duceppe’s across the table, in the English debate, but it’s a big reason

Oh no, I’ve lost my notes. Yes, I take notes during debates, what of it?

I suppose if I find them, I can always add to this later on…

Because of course the important thing was that this rocked. We got real discussion of issues, people calling other people on their shit, some actual good ideas instead of the same old partisan bullroar, and as an extra-special bonus, Stephen Harper’s “I wish I didn’t have to be here” face. Our leaders seemed truly representative of their parties — Harper for the status quo, which let’s not lie is a thing that can be rationally defended (except of course Harper’s status quo also includes a lot of toxic socially irresponsible bullshit), Dion for measured (but real! but measured) gestures in the general direction of progress, Layton for working people, and May for all the folks who’ve known what’s what for a while now. If you read the Georgia Straight, if you like Naomi Klein, if you’re annoyed at the CBC‘s overly-commercialized handling of the news, Elizabeth May is one of your people…and honest enough to say she wants pure rep-by-pop. But Liz, please, throw me a bone here…!

This lady needs to be in the House. I may vote Green in the next election. This stuff’s getting real.

And Duceppe, who is not your buddy, but until the day Quebec separates in fact (a day which I believe will never come) he’s a Canadian too, and whether he likes it or not, or you like it or not, in that sense he represents us. He’ll never form the Government, and if the Bloc were ever to be the Opposition he’d be a stinking hypocrite, but his voice is an important one in our politics, and I never want to see an English debate without him in it. Even if he’s just there to fuck with people. Especially if he’s just there to fuck with people.

So the future looks promising, I would say. Whew! After all that stalling, after all that slow-motion, after all that floating on quicksand, the Mulroney/Chretien era looks to finally be over, and the curtain lowered on its many dramas. If Harper loses this election, we’ll be free to do new things at last.

Get out to the polls. This is going to be an important one.

And by God let’s do this again! I would be very happy to see this kind of political meeting become an annual event, and I think it would change our politics permanently for the better.

In fact, it may already have done so.

Good! We need that!


5 responses to “Very Clear Across The Table

  1. Also, May’s description of Harper’s attitude towards the arts was astonishingly spot-on, wasn’t it? This is the kind of language I want my public officials to be capable of using. Breath of fresh air, damn it!

  2. Oh yeah, and I’m so glad Harper’s “soft on crime doesn’t work” bullshit just so efficiently blasted. I believe I clapped. Let’s just not have any more fucking lying about issues, right? Let’s just not stand for that anymore.

    Harper has never looked more like the reactionary dinosaur that he is, and I love it.

  3. After all that stalling, after all that slow-motion, after all that floating on quicksand, the Mulroney/Chretien era looks to finally be over, and the curtain lowered on its many dramas.

    Aha! You know what happened? Birthyears of the major candidates in the last bunch of elections:

    John Turner 1929
    Jean Chretien 1934
    Ed Broadbent 1936
    Audrey McLaughlin 1936
    Lucien Bouchard 1938
    Paul Martin 1938
    Joe Clark 1939
    Brian Mulroney 1939
    Preston Manning 1942

    Alexa McDonough 1944
    Kim Campbell 1947
    Gilles Duceppe 1947
    Stockwell Day 1950
    Jack Layton 1950
    Elizabeth May 1954
    Stephane Dion 1955
    Jean Charest 1958
    Stephen Harper 1959

    This election will be the first one since 1974 that doesn’t feature a single candidate from the Silent generation. All five are Boomers. Stalling and slow-motion are more a Silent failing than a Boom one; the Boom has their own set of disadvantages (and advantages!) that we’ll all have a good long time to get used to.

  4. I guess you’re right!

    But, I’ve never really seen Harper do anything except recede from an issue — so I’d call him a throwback. Interesting: if he’d been born twenty years earlier, he could’ve been part of the Thatcher/Reagan/Mulroney wave of privatize, deregulate, etc. But I think that wave’s passed, now — maybe only hanging on in the wacky world of Western separatists. But of course Harper can’t be part of that world anymore, lost his status of belonging there when Reform disappeared into Tory. Of course we all know Tory was supposed to disappear into Reform, not the other way around! But I don’t think the Reform gang quite anticipated the pressures that were going to be brought to bear on them once they departed the safety of the margins. Really, I don’t think they knew what they were doing at all, the whole time — Manning himself dropped the ball on Reform.

    It’s probably better that he did, I’ve always thought. If the Reform party had stuck around, it would’ve just become another Bloc, only it would’ve been a Bloc with the potential to form Government one day…and that would’ve been disastrous.

    Anyway, Harper has to be a centrist now, but he doesn’t have any centrist policies to speak of. Lower taxes. It’s not much.

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