Saturday, October 4, 2008

Reflections on the National Debate

I tried to peer pressure my friends into watching the federal debate by insisting it was their civic duty. I think we'd all like to see a candidate who didn't speak in exaggerated attacks, vague promises, and attempts at coining phrases. It didn't happen this year. Nonetheless, these chumps are the future of Canadian politics.

The most embarrassing part: The discussion about Arts funding. All of the candidates turned this into an awkward "slice of life" answer in which they professed their love of 'culture' and how their kids play clarinet or some shit. I was interested in what specific programs that Harper had cut and why everyone thought that they were worth funding. No one spoke in specifics.

Runnerup embarassment: The sadass at the end who asked: "I haven't voted for ten years, I don't think it matters, why should I vote?" I would have supported any candidate who answered: "wake the fuck up".

Two questions we wanted to ask:

1) Give some respect. What's one idea that one of the other parties created that you wish you had thought of? Don't spin it to take credit.

2) As a voter I know that I'm choosing a government that will have to respond to hundreds of unforeseen issues over the next four years. What guiding principals of your party set you apart from the others?

My review of the candidates:

Voted most likely to be stuffed in a locker. He seems weak, nervous, and verging on insincere. The accent is an unfortunate drawback but his soft tone doesn't help. I found myself tuning him out. I haven't seen any of the hate-ads that try to brand him as an elite academic. I find watching him does that. This was tough for me since I usually choose between the Liberals and NDP. They're Canada's most reasonable party but they seem to be focusing on garnering immediate votes (their switch to environmental concerns) than proposing a unique Liberal vision.

My favourite. Duceppe seems more wild and less polished. And those eyes? He's a living caricature. It's like a cross between a puffer fish, an owl, and a love of Quebec. It's neat to have someone in the debate who can't actually become the PM. I think the sovereignty issue would ruin our friendship. My brother commented that he seems like a veteran who can draw on an extensive history (I was interested in his allegiance to the "manufacturing sector") His hair could stop a bullet.

Voted most likely to conceal a hidden agenda. Unshakable. I think Harper plays politics with a real understanding that it is a performance and that he can't wait to get back to real business -away form cameras. He seems reasonable to me but he's also a privileged white male with different social values. I don't want him to have any more power in Parliament. It was funny how he didn't defend the multiple accusations that his party hasn't revealed a platform. Had he been in power in '03, would this man have partnered with the US and sent troops to Iraq? I think the answer is yes.

Came across as intelligent and prepared -her inclusion was a major victory. However, I despise the thoughtless obsession that my generation is developing for the environment (because I think it's a modern echo of Christian apocalyptic mythology). The Green Party is going to capitalize on this. I've always thought their social views are too far right from my own but they keep them shrouded in mystery. May, to her credit, was the most willing to bring up historical and international context (such as the effect of NAFTA's Chapter 11 suits on Canadian Public Health Care)

Voted most likely to appear at your house and have dinner with your family. Layton played 'the man on the street image' so hard we thought he was going to promise to walk our dog. I want to lean toward the NDP but he was overplaying the 'attack Harper' card. Easy for a small opposition party to promise the world.


I think Harper is going to return as a minority PM. I'd like to see him face a larger NDP component. That would make him angry. I'm not comfortable with a Harper majority able to lock in some sweeping reforms that he hasn't mentioned.

No comments: