Elections in Canada are over: a new government is in power with a young, charismatic prime minister at its head. After almost ten years under one of the most hated, and by some accounts, worst prime minister in our history-this change of the guard is a welcome one for many people…. at least for the time being.
Like many young Canadians my politics over the last nine years has been a seething partisan fervor, a repressed and frustrated sense of righteousness and self-worth as we have watched an unpopular government force through corrupt law after corrupt law: eviscerating environmental protections, undermining sovereignty, stripping citizens of their rights and typical in this age of decadence: making the rich-richer and the poor poorer. Stephen Harper made life easy for a small number of people and harder for everyone else.
The Harper Government, and its amoral leader hung over us all like a cloud: over our present and our future. We had nothing to look forward to: fewer jobs and less stable ones at that, a worthless dollar, a spoiled environment, the loss of social services, our privacy, our sovereignty in the face of acts like FIPA-the list goes on and on. Change, real change, was something the world taught us to want, to wish for, to desire above everything else-we wanted our futures back and I’m sure many of us now-out there in the world, think we’ve got it. Change is the dream for all of us-for whatever you want things need to change.
This election has been a historic one in regards to its length: the longest in history, and voter turn out, which was unprecedented in the midst of contemporary and largely apathetic trends. After the end of it all I have mixed feelings. I imagined parties on the street when Harper left, the burning of effigies of this deluded crusader: this LEGO haired, histrionic, leisure class crusader living in his little boy world of us and them, righteous causes, blind self-righteousness and all the other Republican horse shit. I thought my hate and rage for that man would go on and on, that I would wish all misfortune upon him and anyone who profited from his ignorance. I was wrong,-thank god.
It wasn’t a logical realization that made me stop hating harper when he was voted out: I never said to myself: “Ok…he’s gone now, he can’t do any harm-yes it’s kind of unfair he gets such a big pension-but he’s one of a million.” I never planned to stop hating him, being mad at him, wanting to throw a wrench in his little boy-scout war games whenever I could, however I could, never planned to indulge in horrible bloody thoughts in my impotence to do so-but I did…the bad feelings just stopped. All the hate, all the rage, the partisan ideology-evaporated-I look at Stephen Harper and see a goofy, pot bellied, socially challenged man in a mid-life crisis, and a privileged one too- ignorant to the struggles of a lot of people-but essentially: just another middle aged dude who wants to play in a band still because he’s having a mid-life crisis and that’s what he’s doing, apart from worrying about his colon every time he feels the need to pee.
You want to hate Stephen Harper I’ve got bad news for you-there’s like a million of him and there’s a half-decent chance one of them is your father.
I’d like to thank him really. Who else could have woken up Canada to its own values better than a man who flew in the face of them like a gun-toting prison-owning republican riding a wild pig? He used every dirty trick-and we became more vigilant. He tried to bullshit us with fear tactics, ludicrous warnings of terror and xenophobia, an we called it all out. He held the longest election in our history to get more campaign money than his competitors and people came out in record numbers to shut him down. Worst of all he tried to make us fear something that’s not really there. But say what you want about the man, he re-invigorated our democracy by making us hate him so much-now the conversations mean something and we’ve learned a little better how to combat corporate manipulation of our democratic institutions. Harper, perhaps unintentionally, has created a population of informed citizens and I’d like to thank him, as a young “socialist” voter-and whatever reaction he chose to give would satisfy some part of me.
I’m very far from home right now. I’m teaching in Asia to put away some money, some day I’d like to come home. “I’ve felt very Canadian” is the only way I could describe the last week-how proud of all the conscious voters there are amidst my friends and relations…. all eleventy-one of them I am. If I had to tell someone that to shrug them off and keep on walking in the noisy streets-I would tell them that with a big grin and walk on.
Now, in the midst of jubilation over our new prime minister and the Jays big run; I’m a little aloof. My hat is in my hand, but it’s not waving. What some part of me has seen is one figure head replaced with another: I suppose you could chalk it up to not having seen Justin Trudeau in action yet and being a faithless bum. But still…there’s a strange feeling that persists. I won’t pre-judge the liberals-it’s especially hard to be negative if head lines of pledges to the arts are true, that kind of thing makes the world a better place-he can have my tax money for that sure, whatever. If the TPP is signed though….we’ll have failed to meet a challenge. We didn’t fail to stand up to Harper, Let’s stand up and make sure our government does the job we elected it for instead of making a killing on borrowed money. I hope for the best from Prime Minister Trudeau, and the way I see it, we can help him be a good prime minister by being informed citizens, who lead our own lives with integrity and consideration for the world around us. I was amazed at the way Canadians stood up for this election, and stood tall-let’s continue to do so!
From the Dark Mountain.