Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Conversation Over Dinner

(Written for's election coverage.)

Three women I know had dinner in Toronto a couple of nights ago and they talked about the election campaign. In their early fifties, they’re all on the left, with a range of attitudes that we can call socialist, social democrat, pro union, anti capitalist.

One of them told me about the conversation.

They’re alienated from the Liberals because they see them as too pro business and lacking in principle.

They’re suspicious of the NDP. They think the way Jack Layton helped bring down the Martin government to trigger the 2006 election opened the door to Harper. Instead of childcare and Kelowna, we got Harper, they insist, and Layton did nothing to warn Canadians about the Conservatives.

Now they think that we’re heading for a Conservative government, either minority or majority.

They’re not very interested in the details of the day to day maneuvers of the parties on the campaign trail.

They’re split on whether they think Obama will win in the U.S.

Wouldn’t it be great, one of them said to me with savage irony, if the Americans got Obama and we got Harper.

If we do get Harper on October 14, my three friends are not going to be just alienated. They’re going to be mad as hell.

People like my three friends are going to give the professional politicians, New Democrat and Liberal alike, the shock of their lives. Next time the game is going to be played under different rules.


Dame said...

Ever heard the story of Nader??? I know You did of Course.

this is all Crying and Do Nothing..
until we /the left / can't talk with each others and join forces we are impotent nothings.


Yappa said...

You had me right up to the last paragraph. Then you lost me completely. How are we going to change the rules?

For example - When Obama didn't pick a woman VP I played around with the idea of trying to organize a boycott with the aim of telling the backroom boys that if there's no woman on the ticket, the candidate won't win. Of course it didn't work (I don't think I got one person to agree with me) and we'll go back to gross underrepresentation for women and demonization of women who try to get into the top tier.

Harper's popularity seems to have a lot to do with a big ad budget and a good PR firm, as well as having the federal budget to spend on buying votes. It was ever thus. After he's really messed us up people will finally turn on him and then we'll elect the Liberals or NDP.

I'd like to think the game might change, but I don't see how.

Northern PoV said...

Ya think?

A Harper majority (if he gets it) will certainly signify "new rules".
Just not the ones you dream of.
Look to the USA if you want a prediction of the anti-democratic moves we will see up here.

The free trade debacle in 88 (and the surrendering of CDN sovereignty that followed it) will look like child's play compared to the rapid integration of Canada into the US sphere.

Many thanks to the New Democrats and your very-progressive sounding angry women. I am sure the Tory thugs are shaking in their boots.

Hey, maybe if enough NDP and Liberal candidates can be smeared and pressured to drop out we'll get strategic voting by the back door.

Remember McKenzie and the 1926 election!

sharonapple88 said...

"It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness." –Confucius.