The Fountain Pen, Guelph's On-Line News
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Who will get the Grouchy Canadian vote?

Web posted on December 07, 2005

The Electric Couch Potato

Ah, yes, election time in Canada. If I didn't turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or see the signs all over the place, I could still tell it's an election - close your eyes and you can smell the brimstone in the air.

Looking at all those prettily-coloured 2-legged mini snowfences cropping up all around this great city of ours, one has to wonder just how much snow the politicians believe we'll get... and how much they will be shovelling our way.

Personally, I think that the politicians forgot something extremely important when they decided to have their little pissing contest now. Yes, I'm talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder. During the winter, Canadians get less sunlight than during the summer. That tends to make us a little on the grouchy side (OK, it gives me an excuse for a change). Perhaps that's why they're trying to butter us all up with promises of tax reductions/rebates and spending in the happy and feel-good sectors like childcare and health. Mark my words, within a week or so you'll see the photo ops of leaders with puppies, kittens, children, or a combination thereof. Get out and get your Gravol now, folks!

I remember how many of the little political types were wandering up and down the streets of Guelph, knocking on doors and being all friendly back last June. One actually helped my neighbour, Don, take his recycling bin to the curb. So, of course, Don's anxiously waiting for one of 'em to come along and help shovel his driveway. Somehow, I have a hard time picturing this bunch of politicos trudging around in their mukluks after dark. Especially in this neighbourhood.

Lots of my friends are rather annoyed by the timing of this exercise in democracy. Some of them travel south of the equator during the nasty part of winter, have done so for many a year, and will do so in 2006, thank you very much. They enjoy going to all-candidates meetings and asking politically-incorrect questions - you know, the stuff that us real Canadians want to know about. (Not those pansy questions asked by volunteers planted in the audience by savvy political handlers - who the heck are they trying to kid?) They are a little disappointed that they can't do it this time. They made me promise to take their place this time, so, prepare yourselves candidates! The Grouchy Canadian is watching you all... taking notes, making a list, checking it twice... you guys get the idea.

Anyway, more than a few of us have decided to register to vote by mail this time. As the other half says, "It's new, it's different, and it's not from Canadian Tire!" All you have to do is apply between January 5th and 17th, 2006, and get your filled-in ballot back to the government by January 23, 2006. The way things usually run here in Canada, this means that we could actually make our minds up on who gets our votes based strictly on what is "presented" in the media - before the candidate debates take place.

Hmm, basing my vote on propoganda, sound-bites, and paid advertising that addresses what some big-city talking-head thinks is important to me? I'm not too thrilled about that, kids, but you know that a large fraction of people will do exactly that.

It's a fair guess that whatever party ends up with the most seats this time round, they will have to co-operate with other parties in the government to get anything done. No change from last election. So, perhaps, this time, we all should vote for the candidate in our riding who will do the best job for us, and completely ignore the party leaders. Forget the "strategic voting" methods of the past, and actually let the people around here know what we really think of 'em. I, for one, am tired of voting for X because I can't stand Y's party leader (even though Y would do a better job than X), and know that Z's party has absolutely no chance of forming the government (even though Z would do a better job than either X or Y). My vote, whoever it is cast for, is not a wasted vote - it expresses my real opinion.

Imagine the results if everyone took that approach to voting this time around! They wouldn't make Grouchy Canadians vote in the dead of winter ever again... and that wouldn't be a bad thing at all.