Saturday, March 26, 2011

And They're Off

It's not even been a day since the date of the 41st Canadian federal election was announced, and already the sniping has started. Unsurprisingly enough it appears to have been Prime Minister Harper who started this particular show with a return to old methods: jabs at the Bloc Quebecois and implications that the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc are just waiting for the opportunity to create a coalition government that would more accurately reflect the voting choices of the Canadian people. I mean, would be unstable, and it would be a coalition with separatists!

I'd really hoped we'd got over that two years ago.

As it is, if these first threads of the campaign get booted around by the Conservatives for the next five weeks, things are gonna suck. I'd much rather see the parties base their campaigns on even halfway-relevant ideas, not "THEY WANNA DESTROY ARE COUNTRY." For the life of me I can't understand why the Conservatives think pandering to anti-separatism will get them mileage, or why it even would. The 1995 Quebec referendum was pretty much the earliest political event I really understood, could really wrap my twelve-year-old brain around. I've grown up knowing that the breakup of my country was possible; perhaps that's one of the reasons why the concept doesn't fill me with anger or despair.

What really gets me, though, is Harper's statement that he doesn't think it would be "principled to have a party dedicated to break up of [our? the?] country having a hand in running the government." Aside from providing a telling look into his viewpoint, it's purely anti-democratic. Like it or not, the Bloc's message resonates with enough Quebec voters that the people have given them forty-eight seats in the House of Commons. Nevertheless, it's not necessarily true that every last Bloc voter have their hearts set on an independent Quebec. Isn't it more believable that Bloc voters do so because they like the idea of a party that will advance Quebec's interests on the national stage? Whatever their reasons, the Bloc has as much right to have a hand in running the government of Canada as any other party, so long as it has the support of the people to do so. To say that a specific party is unworthy to act in the government because some of its policies run counter to that government, outside of very rare and very specific circumstances that tend to end with "azi," strikes at the heart of the concept of democracy.

It doesn't matter, though. The Bloc is purely a regional party, and Harper is sure to get mileage by bashing it in the rest of Canada. Though I really don't like the implications of going down that path. I've never been one for the straightjacket theory of nation-states.

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