Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed Out

Tis the season for stumping, litigation



The deja vuness of it all didn’t really strike me until I drove down to Vancouver on Monday. There’s another election coming.

After our high-pitched, all-politics-are-local municipal election, I’m just a bit burned out on electioneering.

It doesn’t help that this election is both unnecessary and, more troubling, indicative of the much larger, elephant in the parlour problem facing my adopted home and just about every other country labouring under democratic principles. That problem is that we seemed to have built societies way more complex than we’re capable of managing, let alone nurturing, under the pressures being brought to bear by the Generation of Swine we’ve inarguably become.

We’re having an election almost no one in the country wants because the boys we’ve got leading the extant political parties can’t play well together. None of them seem grown up enough to be capable of looking at the bigger picture – Canada – fixing the things that so desperately need fixing and stepping boldly into an uncertain future… together... co-operatively… as though we’re all in this experiment together, which we most definitely are.

Jack the Bear, dapper leader of the NDP, has been paying too much attention to his own handlers, toadies and sycophants. He’s convinced he can lead the party of afterthought to greatness it’s not seen since the voters of Ontario lost their collective minds and handed Bob Rae a majority provincial government. He’s no longer willing to play kingmaker to Little Pauly Martin’s minority government, convinced he can eke out another couple of seats in the minority parliament to come and play, well, kingmaker.

Little Pauly, on the other hand, will never rest comfortably until he fulfills the Divine Destiny handed down from his father and becomes undisputed leader of all Canadians. So holy is his grail, so inspired his cause, that he’s more than willing to throw away a decade of fiscal parsimony to buy his way into office unfettered by minority status. Oh, how soon we forget the still-unpublished lessons of Gomery. Oh, how delusional the trappings of power.

Stephen Hapless, knowing this is, for him, a make or break election, is out spreading peace on earth, goodwill toward white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant men during the Christmas season. Dusting off his best hood, the living embodiment of the ugly face of conservatism is out stumping for… make that against, gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, decriminalization of marijuana and modernism in any of its enlightened forms.

Gillie is, of course, doing what he’s always done, moving Quebec inexorably closer to becoming the banana republic its intellectuals(sic) dream of becoming.

The Green party isn’t an official party and, even though the Bloc isn’t an official party either, isn’t invited, once again, to the CBC debates. That’s because the Greenies only embrace small issue issues like saving the environment before we all choke to death as opposed to big issue issues like pandering to Quebec and saving the CBC’s funding so it can bring us another year of mediocre television in both official languages.

Mostly I know there’s an election coming because when I drove down to Vancouver Monday, there were election signs about every twenty feet along the highway. As far as I can tell, there’s only one candidate running in this riding – Blair Wilson. Judging from his small ‘l’ liberal use of election signs, Blair is either fabulously wealthy, has a well-funded organization, or is on the receiving end of whatever’s left in the pipeline that funneled taxpayer money through those kinky Liberal ad firms in Quebec and back into the federal Liberal party.

I don’t know if Blair has the courage of his convictions – if convictions more complex than getting elected and doing exactly what Little Pauly says to do are still part of the baggage of running for federal office – but he has the courage to post signs with his face on them. Guess he’s always wondered what he’d look like with facial hair.

Rumour has it there’s someone else named Wilson running for the NDP, chosen solely for a copycat last name in a desperate attempt to confuse voters about who’s who and siphon off a few extra votes. And, of course, there must be a Conservative gaybasher lurking in the bushes somewhere, hoping to slip in through the shadow of John Reynolds.

The only real saving grace of this election is its timing. Since most of it takes place over the pagan holidays of Consumerism, we’ll all gleefully ignore it while we shop for next spring’s garage sale inventory.

It could be worse. Up here in the Great White North, we’re simply embroiled in a needless election to distract us from the shopping season. The theocratic social wars being waged south of the border have, ironically, chosen consumerism itself as their latest battleground. The American Family Association, the Catholic League, Fox News(sic) and the ever wacky conservative talk radio, have banded together to boycott various commercial enterprises who refuse to tout Christmas for what it is – Christ-mas – and choose instead to wish people the more inclusive Happy Holidays. The irony of "holiday’s" etymology – the Old English h ā lig dæg meaning holy day – is, as all things ironic usually are, lost on them.

They want their unthinking minions to boycott stores who use Happy Holiday and reward merchants who hew to the true, if historically tortured, meaning of the season and wish people a Merry Christmas. Thus, like patriotism, which the current president Bush reduced to shopping for freedom, Christmas is now all about shopping for true believers. Real Christians, Conservative Christians don’t shop at Target… or Wal-Mart.

How weird is that?

Well, it’s at least as weird as our brothers and sisters at Barnfield trying to carve themselves out of the social contract that passes for affordable housing in Tiny Town. Not being satisfied at ruining any chance the rest of us will ever have to convince Whistler Housing Authority and the muni to let us create some sweat equity by building or finishing our own slice of homeownership in paradise, they – which is to say most of them but by no means all of them – want to wiggle out of any semblance of social responsibility at all and be relieved of any restraint on their own, personal windfall.

Having won the lottery once and been given the chance to buy into the dream cheap, they’ve hired a mouthpiece most foul to game the lottery one more time and win big. Yes, the "formula" for determining their cost of production was flawed and yes, the negotiations to resolve their baseline cost have been unproductive – neither side being reasonable enough to agree on what day of the week it is – and most definitely yes, the formula for determining appreciation has left their homes valued far, far below what they’d be worth on the free and unfettered market.

The first two failings are unfortunate. The last was, however, THE WHOLE IDEA!

But in the spirit of the season I will not, at least this week, stoop to calling them shameful greedheads. It seems most of the rest of the town is doing that for me.