May 29, 2004

election rant - how can I care if I can't stay awake?

For anyone outside of Canada not in the loop, there's currently a federal election going on in this part of the world. For those of us within Canada, the tedium you've noticed dominating the news is the election - yes, we have one going on though it's hard to keep your eyes open through it.

One of the questions the media and others keep asking is, "Why don't young Canadians care?" My question would be, "Why would anyone care?"

The level of disinterest among young Canadians has caught the eye of a number of people. There is a fairly high level of disinterest amongst all of us but it seems particularly heady with Canada's youth.

But how could anyone begin to give a monkey's hind end when all we see or hear is the prepackaged political pablum of the marketing strategies? And poor strategies at that, unless the point is to put us all to sleep.

This isn't about an absence of sensationalism. It's about an absence of anything remotely of interest to those of us who live here. Of the leaders, the only person that raises even a half-hearted eyebrow is Jack Layton, leader of the NDP - New Democratic Party. He seems to be saying to voters, "Look at me - I'm an ass. But I'm okay with it!" Jack, if we want clowns we'll go the freakin' circus.

And then there are the Liberals with current Prime Minister Paul Martin at the forefront. I call this the MBA campaign. It's characterized by business school thinking. You know the kind - PowerPoint snippets created by people who haven't been out of a boardroom in 20 years. The campaign's connection to people is non-existent. Those clowns wouldn't know a Canadian if he walked up and shat on their boots.

And what kind of communication strategy do these guys have? It's like a wrong-headed take on a drip campaign. They release announcements weeks ahead of the official announcement. Probably to find out how the thing will fly. Then they release it again. And again. And again ... usually with slight variations.

By the time they make the "official" announcement (like the recent revenue sharing of gasoline taxes with cities and towns), who in the country cares anymore? Our eyes are glazed over; they've numbed us with repitition. We just want them to please shut the hell up and move on.

Finally, there are the Conservatives with manikin man Steven Harper at the helm. They give a whole new meaning to the word drab. And to the phrase one-trick-pony. Their position seems to be summed up by the phrase, "We're against everything." They seem to suffer from the affliction most conservative people and parties suffer from. Despite the merits of their positions, they put everything in negative terms. I can't image a drearier, more depressing world than the one envisioned by the right. Are these people ever happy? Is there anything they don't dislike?

The left, for all their idiocies and whining, at least have a few positive moments and smile on occasion.

And yes, there is the Bloc Quebecois. However, in my end of the country they aren't part of the equation. I'm not sure how they come across in Quebec.

Anyway, if I see one more election hopeful stutter and flounder as he or she tries to say something without saying anything, I’ll scream. And while these are the early stages of the campaign, I hope someone, somewhere, in some party gets the radical notion of saying something substantive and take a real position on something.

At the very least, could we find someone who doesn’t look like an alien life form struggling to mimic the sounds and gestures of a genuine human being? Could we fire all the strategists and handlers?

Canada Votes - CBC
Liberal Party of Canada
Conservative Party of Canada
NDP - New Democratic Party
Bloc Quebecois

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