People and Places

ELECTION CHATTER (DAY 35): How the game has changed

Day 35: In which contributing editor Mark Bourrie tells it like it is — and urges you to give some serious thought to Monday’s vote.

So, it’s all over but the tears and balloons.

And my days as an election blogger have come to an end.

This election went from being a tedious gambit by Stephen Harper to make a bid for a majority government to become the most important election since 1917. In that election, English Canadians supported the military draft while Québécois opposed it. The Union Government, primarily Conservative, of Sir Robert Borden, was elected, and Conservatives were subsequently shut out of Quebec for 40 years.

Some people might argue this election has been even more of an earth-mover. No matter whether the NDP support in the polls translates into real votes and House of Commons seats on election day, the people of Canada have made it very clear that they are not happy.

They’re not thrilled with the Harper Government and its contempt for Parliament, the media, and other institutions that act as the eyes and ears, and sometimes the voices, of Canadians.

Nor are they happy with packaged politicians who pitch “Family Packs” of vacuous promises that sound like deals at fast food restaurants — probably because the same wizards who do the ads for chicken joints also sell politicians as commodities.

In Quebec, people seem to like their social programs, but are sick of sending 50 obstructionists to Ottawa in every election. While it’s fun at first, throwing rocks at windows turns into work after a while.

So a lot of people — not a majority, probably not even a parliamentary minority — have settled on Jack Layton and the NDP.

I could tell people dozens of reasons why this is a bad idea. Unfortunately, I can’t give them any reasons why they should vote for Stephen Harper or Michael Ignatieff.

Harper is a strange man, and not in the “fun at parties” kind of way. He’s a narcissist, someone with not the slightest bit of embarrassment for rebranding the government after himself or hanging walls of photographs of himself in the Government lobby of the House of Commons.