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Thursday, March 31, 2011

We are eternal

In the days before the nonconfidence vote (a phrase, by the way, that will forever be tarnished by the stupidity in which it was used in The Phantom Menace), the Harperites claimed that a “vote on nonconfidence is a vote that will weaken Canada’s economic recovery.” Sad fear-mongering, a usual tactic from the right-wing. “Whenever you don’t do what we want, something baaaad will happen. Oooo, spooky!”
Well, since then, our dollar has held stable at around 103 cents US. A suspiciously minded person might think that things are just a little too calm. Eye of the storm perhaps? When will the dire predictions come to pass? We’ll have to wait until the rest of the data is gathered to find out that the unemployment rate skyrocketed in the last week, that manufacturers fled the country in droves, and our service sector employees have all taken over-seas sabbaticals, fearing the unstable political climate here in Canada.
More likely nothing will happen. Why? Because our economy never failed. Yes, it took a hit, but that was due to the tight bonds we have with the US. When they took a nosedive, we had a touch of turbulence. Governmental efforts probably helped it from becoming worse, but that’s about it. It is hubris to believe that as Canadians we actually write our own ticket in terms of economy. We sleep next to a five-hundred pound man with sleep apnea, and when he tosses and turns, our night doesn’t go so well, either.
In order for an election to damage our economy or recovery, the world would have to care. But let’s face it, they don’t. Look at a non-Canadian news service, and you’ll have to use their search feature just to find the word ‘Canada’ at all. You definitely won’t get pages of in-depth coverage. There’s nothing the matter with that: we’re a small country made smaller by the fact that our umbilical cord is attached to the US.
The truth is, that they don’t need to care. First of all, our election will go smoothly, swiftly, and be decided in six short weeks (less, now). Compare that to our neighbours down south, who have been engaged in pre-election wrangling for months already, and won’t stop until the end of 2012! (Beware the Hanging Chad of Election's Past!) Second, when the dust has settled here, no one besides us will notice a difference (and some of us won't be able to tell, either).
For all their rhetoric, our two major national  parties aren’t really that different. Certainly they don’t have the canyon-like gulfs separating US Democrats and Republicans. Ignatieff or Harper, either way, we’re getting someone slightly to the side of the middle. Even if there were a major upset and Elizabeth May managed to get herself into office, so what? We wouldn’t start arming soldiers with flowers, or pulling out of any international commitments. From the world’s perspective, Canada post-May 2 won’t change one bit.
I’m just not sure whether that’s good or bad.

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