This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Harper taps into the emerging Canadian ego, and gains his majority

Three years ago I shook hands with my Conservative father, having thrice double-or-nothinged a $100 bet Stephen Harper would this time fail to secure a majority. I’m not a big fan of meaningless poker, but when it comes to politics have a serious boner for gambling, until last night having never lost a wager. Mr. Harper’s minorities have bought me many beers, and I scored $800 on “President-to-be Obama” while Hilary Clinton was still in the running, and on equal footing. (Sarah Palin’s MILF qualities later scared the shit out of me, I don’t mind telling you now.)

At 130 seats Monday night, each gain a little pinch, I quietly handed my dad that same $800, which he accepted with a certain calm, even denying it was yet time. Yet despite the firm assurances of any number of friends and workmates I won’t here embarrass, a glance around at the world we live in had me hit the bank in the first place, not so much “just in case” as “here we go.” I’m saying this without bitterness, but the Boomers’ Western world is getting demographically older and more conservative, what we saw Monday night fitting into the increasing Americanization of our political system, at least if “Our Man Harper” keeps his promises to fix election dates, pushing away seven years of supposed nightmares.

What people conveniently forget, of course, is that Canada economically thrived in these minority government situations, at least compared to the rest of the planet. The most damage done to our home and native land was systemically taken from our international reputation, both in terms of peacekeeping (which we basically invented, then abandoned) and, of course, the environment. Not only is Mr. Harper guilty of a bizarre lack of basic caution regarding pollution-based effects on Sol 3 but, as salesman-in-chief of the spreading oil empire just north of us, has actively encouraged other world leaders to simply ignore the general conclusions of the global scientific community. He’s tapped into and certainly encouraged the new Canadian ego, which thrives so strongly in our province: We’re going to do what we want — what the fuck do you possibly imagine you can do about it?

The destruction of the Bloc will be further ensured when Harper cuts off federal funding for campaigning political parties, meaning those camps attractive to powerful corporate donation will inevitably have more money behind them to spread the word. Think about that one for a minute. As far as a unite-the-left movement goes thanks to the decimation of the Liberals, Jack Layton was perhaps correct to make such a gleaming victory speech the other night, because under Bob Rae — finally up to bat — that party is festering dead in Alberta and especially Ontario.

What’s most telling about this election is how the Liberals, who’ve always been a compromise between the left and right, were swallowed up by that great beast shambling towards Bethlehem. The centre is simply gone. Like America, we’ve gone bipolar, if somewhat less controlled by the deregulated corporate interests which are tearing that magnificent country-of-the-possible south of us to shreds for its dwindling resources.

And now things get interesting in the land of the Maple Leaf oven mitt pumping the air, capital city: Calgary. Mr. Harper’s agenda is not to protect Canadians from capitalism’s terrible symptoms of late, but to diminish government’s effective role in our lives. He and his followers have said so millions of times, the people around here actually, seriously convinced had there not been a Conservative majority the oil industry would pack up and run elsewhere, such as stable choices like socialist South America or trustworthy Russia. It’s a preposterous line of paranoid thinking that doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense — but it stuck.

Thanks to bullshit like this, that contempt of Parliament doesn’t reflect a deeper agenda towards others, Harper now has total control of the country with 40 per cent of its votes. We have all made a very serious wager. But this is what democracy looks like.




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