Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Unwanted political ramblings

Well, the Canadian election came and went without anything particularly interesting happening. We got to read about some not very interesting platforms and watch some highly deceptive campaign advertisements. Then we went to the polls, and elected the same minority government as before. I love Canadian politics!

There were no particular winners in this election, but there were two losers: firstly, the Liberal Party, which lost tremendous ground under lame-duck leader Stephane Dion. Dion's professorial demeanour and strong accent did not play well in English Canada. Myself, I rather liked Dion - he's a Frenchman who doesn't appeal to a general public, JUST LIKE MESSIAEN - but my endorsement does not appear to have helped his chances. Time for a leadership convention?

The biggest loser, however, was the Canadian electorate. Voter turnout in this election hit an all-time low, and it's not hard to see why. The election was called suddenly for no particular reason, fell at an inconvenient time, and was over before any of the parties were able to construct a coherent platform. Meanwhile, a series of extraordinarily disturbing events overshadowed the campaign, including a series of appalling politically motivated car vandal attacks. And then, of course, the usual madnesses of our electoral system; the separatist Bloc Quebecois party earned fifteen more seats than the New Democrats despite the fact that the NDP garnered twice as many votes as the Bloc, and the Green party earned 6% of the popular vote without winning a single seat. It seems practically designed to destroy any faith in the Canadian electoral system you might have left - particularly since the media have already switched back to the American election. Here's hoping for a better campaign next time around.

Despite not being an American citizen and having no sympathy for the McCain/Palin campaign, I cannot resist a call for help, especially a Messiaen-related one. So in the spirit of Bach for Obama, I present Messiaen for McCain:

Majeste du Christ demandant sa gloire a son pere (from L'Ascension)
Combat entre la mort et la vie (from Les corps glorieux)
Communion - les oiseaux et les sources (from Messe de la Pentecote)
Apparition de l'eglise eternelle
Institution de l'Euchariste (from Livre du Saint-Sacrement)
Nous, Dieu parmi (from La Nativite du Seigneur)

As an added bonus, this would actually work really well as a concert programme. I'd be delighted if someone actually performs this at a Republican campaign event, mainly because Sarah Palin's reaction would be priceless.


Christine said...

Yup, this election was a total WOMBAT. I voted, but it didn't matter -- Alan Tonks will continue to be elected in my riding until he's dead.

I am thinking of writing a letter to Eliz. May, though. She charmed me! I really hope she gets in next time.

diplomatizer said...

When *is* a convenient time for an election, though? And our election campaigns are generally only a month long; American campaigns start 2 weeks after the term starts.

I don't think the car vandalism got as much media attention outside of Toronto as it should have; it's not a good sign.

The thing about the FPTP system is that it worked beautifully when there were just two parties. Now that that's clearly not the case (despite their poor showing, I think the Greens are here to stay), the system doesn't work.

Re: Messaien for McCain--if you had the audacity to play that programme at a McCain-Palin event, you'd probably either be a)Tarred and feathered for committing the crime of being French (or supporting a Frenchman) or b)Celebrated by the Catholic, Pro-Life voter base of the Republicans.

Philip said...

It did occur to me that there might be a positive side to Harper getting a majority -- with the Conservative caucus unmuzzled and the Party's real agenda for Canada revealed for all to see, it might just lead to a realignment in Canadian politics: NDP, Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives resurrected under a new banner and possibly amalgamated with the Greens, with the so-called Conservative Party a small tent for the right-wingers to huddle in. Meanwhile, there is delicious irony in the fact that Harper's "Ordinary people do not care about the Arts" speech lost so many potential Conservative votes in Quebec that it likely prevented him getting a majority this time. Love it.

Wonderful blog, by the way.

Osbert Parsley said...

Dave: I'd agree with you that there's no ideal time for an election, but I wish they'd at least waited until after the American campaign. Two months later, I could have seen the public taking a real interest in the campaign - as it was, we were distracted by the bright colours and flashing lights south of the border.

Of course, a distracted electorate will tend to vote for the status quo unless they have a compelling reason not to, so perhaps this was deliberate.