Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Home stretch!

Like a marathon runner sprinting to the finish line after a long and tough race, the Conservative Party have waited until they need that last little push to the end to release their election platform. It might seem, to the rational observer, that it would make more sense to release the platform at the same time as you, you know, call the election. I mean, the terminally cynical among us might suggest that since the Conservatives had all that time to decide when to call the election, then they had an equal amount of time to decide what they were going to do in that election. But that kind of thinking would make you a horrible cynic. Stephen Harper illuminated his decision to wait until this week to release his platform in a quote today. He said it was in order to maximize coverage. You see? They had the platform all along, but waited until now in order to make sure that the papers and television would give it maximum exposure. It's just politics, silly!

And what a massive amount of exposure this platform has received in the media! In some papers, it almost made the seventh page! Now, to be fair, it would have been the top story in Ottawa if a bus driver hadn't driven 100 yards with an unaccompanied child. And although I have not yet fully perused the Conservative platform, I figure that is mostly because I don't have the attention span to read beyond the sixth page of most newspapers. What I have seen of the platform, however, is earth-shattering. There is almost nothing new there at all! What a magnificent political manouever! The most newsworthy item in the platform - the one thing that has indeed been considered "new" by those very same cynics who complain about the timing? Stephen Harper's total reversal of his stance on tax credits for the arts.

I am in awe of this brilliant political manouever. This is genius! You release your actual platform after the leaders' debate has already taken place, which means that during that debate, no one can actually pigeonhole you on any issues, because you have taken no discernible stance on those issues! Fantastic! Your economic policy completely fails to address the problems facing Canadians? So what? There's barely any time for people to complain about it. Your environmental policy basically amounts to the assertion that you, Stephen Harper, will not personally pour oil into drinking water? Big deal! Most people won't notice until the election is over anyway.

Speaking of the environment, there is a radical, crazy group of people who, for some odd reason, want to get rid of the Conservative government at all costs, because of their stance on the environment. Well, on most issues. But mostly the environment. And they are proposing, as befits a radical, crazy group, some radical, crazy ideas. Like strategic voting. Now, my proposal to our political parties was this: For the NDP to shift gears completely, and become a rabid, right-wing, anti-abortion anti-gay anti-tax anti-fun group, to split that right wing vote in Canada and create a more balanced five-party system, thereby giving left-wingers a chance at a minority government and possibly saving the country. So far, they have not returned my emails or responded to my entreaties. So this group is what we have left.

Why, you might ask, being the cynic that you are, would people complain about Stephen Harper's stance on the environment? After all, when Canada was named the single country that most obstructed progress on cleaning up the earth at the UN conference on climate change, that wasn't because Stephen Harper doesn't care! It was, just like this election platform thing, smart politics. You see, if Canada has the worst leader in the world when it comes to the environment, that means that the U.S. does not. George Bush, for once, is not the worst leader of a country in the world. And when the conference was over, he patted Harper on the bum on the way back to the sidelines, and said "thanks for the assist, big guy". It wasn't about the environment, it was about foreign relations! Harper knows that being liked by George Bush is more important for Canada than preventing a global environmental catastrophe. Like John McCain, Stephen Harper is just putting Country First! Huzzah for the Harpster!

Not only is Harper selfless enough to appear to be the Worst Leader Alive, taking one for our collective team, he is also savvy enough to realize that disclosing your platform after 1.4 million Canadians have already voted is a great way to promote national unity. After all, 1.4 million people is a very small amount of people compared to the millions who will vote in a week. And while the people (like my mother) who voted in advance would probably consider themselves to be rather informed voters - I mean, they are the ones who care enough to vote in advance. But Harper, in one brilliant stroke of genius, has proved those 1.4 million people wrong! They are now all, collectively, the most UN-informed voters in Canada. Which means that the other 14 million people who vote on October 14th will feel like the MOST informed, they will feel better about themselves, and about each other. This will foster national unity. Terrific stuff.

But back to this crazy, radical organization. The one that wants to kick the selfless martyr that is Stephen Harper out of office. They are actually suggesting that you, the residents of Canada, vote against the Conservatives. Because anyone else is better than Stephen Harper. How ridiculous. The idea that we can vote out the Conservatives with a concerted cross-country effort by punching in our postal codes and finding out who to vote for who is most likely to defeat the Conservative candidate in our particular riding? How silly. Let's hope it doesn't work at all. Here is the website that you should never go to, in order to make sure that this doesn't work at all:

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