Coming Soon to My Country!

Finally meet Stephanie and her beloved Yoshi!

As I mentioned in my retrospective post, this cute duo will be moving to Halifax in July. Steph came for a 10-day visit last month, and if you can possibly imagine, she’s a trillion times sweeter in person than how she comes across on her blog and the comments she leaves at aMMusing. And how exciting it was to finally meet her after “knowing” her for nearly four years! I think she liked Halifax well enough; there was even a snowstorm while she was here, and she didn’t freak out and board the next plane back to Florida. Mind you, someone might have sicked a hiveful of bees on her if she had…

Once in Halifax, this longtime Canadaphile will be studying at NSCAD University. We’re not sure what Yoshi will do, but given he’s a Maine Coon weighing in at 22 pounds, we’re hoping he’ll overcome his poofster’s nature and knock some sense into the Terrible Tifman.

A Sign of Better or Worse to Come?

BeeGoddessM has visited the States twice in the last little while — the first time about six weeks after the presidental election, and the second time in late February. When she came back the second time, she told me that she noticed there were fewer of those magnetic yellow ribbons on cars and SUVs, and she felt that there was generally less enthusiasm about the Republicans’ victory. The talk had turned from the War on Terrah (what a bitch she is!) to Bush’s plan for Social Security, which hasn’t been getting a very good reception.

Then the other day, Mac at Pesky’Apostrophe drew my attention to a recent phenomenon at the American political landscape, namely what’s being dubbed “buyers’ remorse” among some who voted for Bush: pangs of regret for having voted on a single issue. Perhaps the most stunning admission of regret comes from A Small Victory‘s Michele.

When I noticed her on the list of the remorseful, I was completely floored. She has long ago been removed from my list of blogs to read, for as someone who had formerly been on the left, she had become insufferable after swinging to the right post 9/11. However, to be fair, I have to say that, unlike many others on the right, she did not endorse everything coming from that end of the political spectrum. Far from it, actually. She voted for Bush on the single issue of the WoT, and now she is admitting that her “all-out support has certainly waned.” While not prepared to swing back to the left, she is admitting hating being at the right. Moreover she adds:

There are others out there like me. I talk to them at work. I talk to them in the parking lot of schools, waiting for our kids. I talk to them in email or instant message, people from across the country who feel that twinge of regret. What we all have in common is this: we feel used. We feel taken advantage of. We feel manipulated.

She is not, however, about to issue an apology, be it publicly or privately. She is merely owning up to her regret and is now planting herself firmly in the middle of the political scale.

That’s just as well, for it seems few who opposed Bush and pinched their nose while voting for Kerry, whom they deemed highly imperfect but a lesser evil, would be receptive to such an apology. Both sides are guilty of having flung turds at their opponents, but it seems the turds thrown from the right were bigger and mushier and flung with greater force. Those on the left — I think rightly to a good extent — feel they’ve bullied and aren’t prepared to forgive, let alone forget. There’s a lot of bad blood …a lot of bad blood…

I wonder, though, if this phenomenon will carry into the 2006 midterm elections. If it does, I wonder if it’ll simply translate into more people disengaging from the political process. Fatigue inevitably sets in when people continually find themselves voting against somebody rather than for somebody. And what follows is the greatest danger in any political system: voter apathy, which is precisely what set the stage for the ascension of the most heinous figure of the 20th century, whom I need not name.

I Take it Back

The other day I wrote that I doubted most Canadians were “tremendously more pissed off than I am about this issue” that the Gomery Enquiry has been charged to look into, and I even went so far as putting the word scandal between scare quotes and bluntly referring to the affair as a “so-called scandal.” However, now that Gomery has lifted the publication ban and I’ve heard parts of Jean Brault’s testimony, I think I have to serve myself a big slice of humble pie. At the same time, I’m really worried about what the impact this could have on the political landscpe of my home and native land.

If an election is held this spring, I think a pretty safe conclusion to draw is that the Liberals will lose most of their 21 seats in Quebec to the Bloc Québécois, which currently hold the province’s remaining 54. That’s because, as several reporters on different networks have said, this affair makes Québecois look like a bunch of Soprano-style mobsters. Some ridings in the Montreal area simply won’t go BQ no matter what and I doubt they’d swing to the Conservatives. So for the sake of argument, let’s take away 15 seats from the Liberals; federally they’d go from 135 to 120 seats. If everything else remained as is, we’d be left with another, weaker minority government in Ottawa.

But what about the rest of Canada? Is it safe to assume that everything else would remain as is? I’m not so sure anymore.

Much of the West — from BC to Manitoba — is already mostly Conservative, and the New Democrats, perpetually in the Opposition, are more serious challengers in some ridings out there than the Liberals, meaning there’s little hope of much movement in favour of forming a government with the West. Atlantic Canada is a hodge-podge (mostly Liberal [22/32], but some Conservatives [7/32] and NDP [3/32]), with the Conservatives likely poised to pick up a few seats in New Brunswick and perhaps Newfoundland & Labrador. But the true battleground will be seat-rich Ontario, where the Conservatives represent 24 of the 106 ridings and the NDP 7. If enough Ontarians are outraged in light of this sponsorship affair and don’t want to see yet another minority government, they might be tempted to side with the Conservatives. And then, we’d be screwed.

Screwed, because of the Conservatives’ social policies and abysmal fiscal record (read “The Man Behind Stephen Harper” from the October 2004 issue of The Walrus).

I’m really mixed about it right now. On the one hand, the damning criminal evidence against the Liberals is mounting; on the other hand, the only contender for government is despicable and vile. It’s all fine and wonderful for me to be smug and point out that I never voted Liberal nor Conservative. The fact remains that if the lesser devil are booted out, we’ll be stuck with the greater devil — meaning that again I’ll vote NDP, and secretly wish that the Tony Sopranos win.

What a fucking mess.

Update: See this article at CBC.ca containing a sampling of readers’ comments in response to Brault’s testimony. Says one Norman Willoughby from Saanichton, B.C.:

We are so inured to Liberal corruption and so morally bankrupt ourselves that we are unable to discern integrity in any guise.

Implying, I’m sure, that the Conservatives have the integrity the Liberals lack.

I think I’m among those who meets this guy halfway with regard to how we’ve come to accept Liberal corruption. But, just as some people have to cast a strategic vote in their riding (e.g., vote Liberal although they’re NDPers at heart because the NDP hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell in their riding), I still choose not to see this scandal as the sole legacy of the Liberals since 1993 and, moreover, deeply worry about the alternative. Enough people in the States were up in arms about Clinton’s blowjob in the Oval Office (and stupidly denying it initially), and look at the “morally corrupt” bunch they voted in instead. We should want to avoid the same mistake here in Canada. But I suppose if you’re a straight (probably Christian) white male in B.C., you aren’t as concerned as I am and perhaps fully endorse the Conservatives’ anti-gay, anti-choice, unequivically pro-American in all matters positions.