The Elections

I haven’t had much of a chance to discuss the elections on either side of the border. Some other things are demanding my attention these days. I thought now is as good a time as any to launch into a rambling commentary on the political landscape as I see it.

This weekend, while watching 3600 Secondes d’Extase, I saw the above advertisement from the Liberal Party. In it, Member of Parliament Denis Coderre suggests that, according to the polls, Barack Obama will be elected the next president of the United States. He asks us to imagine Stephen Harper meeting with the new president on such issues as climate change, culture, and the economy.

Pointing out the disconnect between Harper and Obama, Coderre suggests voters choose a leader (like, you know, Stéphane Dion) who will be on the same page as the president.

This sort of thing usually bugs me in that I’ve never felt that Canada need elect leaders with ideologies which match those of their American counterparts. Years ago, a co-worker once opined that we needed to send troops to Iraq just to maintain our trade relationship with the US, which might be the most boneheaded reasoning for war, ever. Although to say there aren’t, or weren’t, Canadian soldiers in Iraq simply isn’t true.

Still, this is probably the first political ad I’ve ever seen that suggests that an election in another country should impact the one going on here. And, as heartened I’d be by an Obama victory, I find that ad a little weird.

I am also heartened to see Harper’s chances of a majority government growing slimmer the closer we get to next Tuesday. I can’t help but wonder if, after running as party leader in three elections without having delivered a majority, Harper’s days would be numbered.

I think on Tuesday we’ll see another Conservative minority government which, I would hope, the Bloc, Liberals, NDP, and, one would hope, the Greens, would use to reign in Harper’s more grandiose ideas. I’ve said before that I don’t mind switching up parties in government but there is a coldness to the Harper brand of Conservatives that I find unsettling. It’s not as nasty as recent McCain-Palin rallies but it does rely a little too much on the “us vs. them” strategy.

Sometimes, I miss Joe Clark.

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