It’s election time in Canada. No, there are not seventeen people running for the Liberal Party nomination, we only have one whose claim to fame is his pretty hair (Mr. Pretty Hair). And no we don’t have a former Prime Minster’s wife who is running from an email scandal to try to hang on to power in Ottawa. Instead we have a Tory oil sands man who wants a third run at leading this great country (Mr. Oilsand Man). Fighting these two astute gentlemen is a leader of a left-leaning party whose only remaining leftist stance is that he led an orange wave in Socialist leaning Quebec in 2011. He also smiles a lot I think (Mr. Smiley face). Not far behind are two pan-Canadian leaders who are really on the heels of these three frontrunners; there is Madame Green Activist and Mr. Independence Man. Now I have already partaken in kicking out a corruption embroiled Liberal government and voted against anti-hijab lady Auntie Popo in Quebec, but finally given the privilege that this great country has bestowed on me brown gay immigrant, I get to vote for the Canadian federal parliament for the first time and I am so excited!!
The perfect brown gay immigrant that I am, I sat in front of the television (three times already) and watched the leaders’ debates (les débats des chefs). And this past week I had the unmatched privilege to listen to all five of my stellar party chiefs, so that I could make a really informed decision on who I should vote for.
So the debate started and Mr. Oilsand Man captured my attention with his stump speech and the eternal talking points. I heard from the grapevine that these talking points haven’t changed since his first run for 24 Sussex Drive ten years ago. He said that he has created jobs for all of us. Many of us can work in the large catchment areas of water bodies in Alberta where the oil sands are destroying the natural habitat. If we wanted some international experience, then we could be part of the combat mission he sent to Syria, some military training for us immigrants. He is also trying to ensure that we (and he means all of us, brown, white and gay Canadians) are protected against the evils of these veiled women who hide their faces when swearing allegiance to her majesty the Queen. And of course there is the most important thing he did, that will change our lives forever. He took all the Oilsand Man dollars from Alberta and gave it to his friends who took the Kyoto Protocol and tore it all up. This ensures that all of our children and grandchildren can drink water mixed with seeping oil that will soon line our lakes and rivers for generations. Why wouldn’t I vote for such a stellar record of governance? Another ten years in government yes? But hold on, I have to look through the other CVs before I finalize this all important vote.
Turning to Mr. Pretty Hair, who comes with one of the most competitive resumes I have ever seen. His pedigree is unmatched. He has over two decades of his father’s parliamentary experience under his belt. He was even in the same home as a young boy watching the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms being drafted. He is very close to losing his home riding to a lesser-known candidate (or that’s what Mr. Smiley Face wants you to believe). And this is not all, he is always dressed to the nines, coz he might just land a modeling deal while campaigning. He is the only Canadian who can match Bill Clinton in speaking fees, mind you they are in Canadian dollars, so don’t count for much these days given the terrible exchange rate. And finally the clincher of his debate presentation was that he promised, above all else, to make life so much better for all Canadians. He couldn’t say how, what policy or what fiscal rule changes he would bring, but then he will figure all that out as soon as we hand him a mandate to rule, coz he has pretty hair.
Third in line to the throne of Ottawa is Mr. Smiley Face. His claim to fame is that he has been waiting in the wings for years and finally has a real shot at being the king of Canada. He swears by dismantling the big monopoly corporations, but would keep the corporate tax rate lower than the one in the US. Mr. Smiley Face also promised more health care transfers, more affordable day care, more foreign aid and of course a balanced budget that makes all of us happy. But the crowning glory of Mr. Smiley Face’s promises is that he knows how and when us Quebeckers will be able to separate from mother Canada. It might be 50+1, or if the question is not clear enough it might have to be 75+2, but then if the question was clear, but the Anglophones didn’t vote to separate then we would use a 60+5 formulae. He knows how to do it and he will make sure its done right third time around, simply because he was in ‘sitting the trenches’ when this debate happened twenty years ago.
This perhaps is the perfect segue to speak about Mr. Independence Day Man’s rise from the dead in the debate. He slept away the first hour of the debate as Mr. Oilsand Man threw talking points at Mr. Pretty Hair, but then as soon as Mr. Smiley Face called for the 60+5 solution for us Quebeckers, he rose and rose like a sphinx and fired his way to his independent nation, imagining him sitting in the Oval Office in Quebec City. I do like him though as he speaks directly to my gay immigrant sensibilities. He takes Mr. Oilsand Man to task on climate change, the gun registry, more funding for the arts, no troops in Syria. But he looses me as soon as he starts his ‘Qui prend pays prend parti’ rhetoric.
Last but not the least is my Green Activist friend, who I honestly and genuinely like. She is pro-poor, she is for the environment, for more affordable housing, health care investment and I was impressed at her ability to debate in Canada’s other official language. Bravo! Why won’t I vote for her? Simply because she decided not to field a candidate in my riding, making it impossible for me.
So the big question remains if I managed to make up my mind at the end of the debate? Do I know who will look out for my gay brown immigrant interests and so should get my vote? October 19th is only a few weeks away and I will cast that ballot. I encourage everyone to go out and vote as well. It’s your right, exercise it!
Elections take place October 19. Check the elections Canada website for information about voting.