June 29, 2004

Paul Martin for Dogcatcher

I happened to be in Toronto for the last 3 days of that vicious, vicious election campaign. The tension was palpable and I chose to leave before the inevitable rioting and sectarian violence of election day.

That was a joke, of course. Liberal Paul Martin won on a rousing platform of reduced waiting lists for doctor's appointments. Americans will be excused for thinking I'm kidding here. Of all the questions of terror and security, peace and war, justice and freedom, wealth and poverty that could have been debated, Martin chose to stand on how long people should wait to have their hangnails treated.

Actually, the nasty subtext of the campaign was the panicky belief that Conservatives should be kept from power by any means necessary. I guess, although they never explicitly said so, the Tories were envisioned as wanting people to wait longer to see their doctors. No doubt they were promoting a kind of survival of the fittest as so many would die of impacted toenails before their appointments—a culling of the herd, so to speak.

Stupid white man Michael Moore even managed to stick his snout in, telling Canadians that they shouldn't vote Conservative. It's remarkable how the people who complain loudest that Americans should stay out of other country's business can't resist the temptation to dictate precisely how other people should behave in their own borders. But then Michael Moore is a notorious fascist who goes out of his way to be the essence of Ugly American.

The meddling of Moore and that other political paragon Ralph Nader* points out the real problem for Canada. As I said, the nasty subtext was that somehow the Conservatives were a sort of "George Bush Light" that would mean the end of civilization as Canadians know it. The result was that many stampeded back to the Liberal party.

In this way, many otherwise intelligent Canadians were behaving like those of my fellow Democrats down here who support John Kerry, as if there is some nobility in not standing for anything and just being the "not" candidate.

The sad part is that Canadians have so climbed up their own asses with their "not-American" vision of their society that they don't even allow themselves to have their own politics anymore. They can only think in terms of positioning themselves vis-a-vis what is happening to the South. No wonder they no longer function adequately on the world stage, they don't even run an election for a position greater than Northern Dogcatcher.

*Fair Disclosures: I had a personal run-in with Nader 30 years ago and told him he was a toad (in different words). Time has not altered my opinion a bit. When living in Canada I only voted once federally, for the social democratic NDP while my riding—Outremont—voted Liberal, as it still does, apparently.

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