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2011 Election, Federal Politics, Letters to Leaders

Dear Stephen: the 41st General Election and your undeserved majority

Image Courtesy of the National Post

Well that happened.

The rainy weather here in Toronto is befitting of the mood surrounding what was, for my circle of friends anyway, a very disappointing and bewildering election.

The Conservatives end up with 167 seats, 12 more than needed to form a majority; the NDP will form the Official Opposition with 102 seats (beating their previous record high of 43); the Liberals have been reduced to a small rump of 34 seats; the Bloc was decimated to 4 seats; and the Green Party nabs a single seat on Vancouver Island.

And since I am still in the process of digesting what such a powerful loss for the Liberals, an infuriating majority for the Conservatives, a record-shattering milestone for the NDP, an obliteration of the Bloc, and a minor breakthrough for the Green Party actually means, I’ll limit my commentary as events are still unfolding so quickly.

So here is my open letter to Stephen Harper, the clear victor last night. This is the first in a string of letters to all the leaders I will post today, many of whom should be happy to have not quit their day jobs.

– – –

Dear Stephen,

Congrats to you and the Conservative Party of Canada for winning your majority government last night. While I fundamentally disagree with the autocratic manner in which you operate, and the flagrant disregard you demonstrate for Parliament, clearly, your message resonates with a large enough percentage of Canadians to get you elected with a majority. I do not understand why Canadians remain indifferent to your abuses of power, your proroguing of Parliament, and your historic contempt ruling, but they do. With this election result, my faith in the intelligence of the average Canadian drops just slightly, as it has over the past five years of your governments.

We kicked you out only 6 short weeks ago, full of hope and promise that maybe this time things would be different. Instead, your contempt for Parliament turned a masochistic Canadian electorate on, and you were rewarded for treating us like the scared, abused partner we are. You say you love us, and that it wont happen again, and that no one will love us the way you and your party love us. And we believe you.

But just in case you decide to say that a majority of Canadians voted you into power, I wanted to remind you how flat wrong that would be. In our broken system, you needed only 39.6% of votes cast to get your beloved majority government. And only 61.3% of Canadians who could vote, did vote. So as per usual, your base of support grew slightly, but not enough to justify such a large increase in power and seats. Funny how I don’t think you will care to reform the system that allows you to wield such immense power with such a minimal base of support, while keeping your historic opposition down. When you’re on top, don’t mess with a good thing!

I will say this: your small-minded Immigration Minister Jason Kenney made an excellent point that he shared in the election coverage last night. You and your party did not take the people for granted this time around. You fielded many candidates who were active on the hustings, showed up at the community events, and managed to pry the visible minority and recent immigrant vote away from the Liberal party, which is a historic shift.

Yet your candidates avoided the community debates like the plague. You stayed on message, and you managed to convince people that you would be there for them. You made it all about the dollars and cents, hoping that would be enough to win hearts and minds. And it was. You didn’t talk about democracy, because you wanted to bank on it not being important to your voters. And it wasn’t. You told people that chaos was lapping at our shores, you made them afraid and vulnerable, you broke them down and convinced them you were the only who would protect them, the only one that could when the world began to close in on them.

And they believed you.

Congrats on scaring enough people into sticking with you. You’ve ensured that Canada, your scared, abused partner, will stay by your side for the next four years at least. Some victory.



About awreeves

Editor-in-chief at Alternatives Journal. Author of 'Overrun: Dispatches from the Asian carp Crisis'.


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