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Pique n' your interest

Wake me for the next election



Like most people you’re probably sick of the federal election by now, that is if you paid much attention to it in the first place.

As you may already know, the Liberals won a minority government this time around, losing more than 30 seats in the House. Which basically means that Paul Martin will always be one failed vote in the house away from a vote of non-confidence that would effectively shut down government, resulting in yet another federal election.

Admit it, this is a pretty stupid system of checks and balances that we have – "Move to approve this bill to provide our soldiers in Afghanistan some SPF 40 lip balm? No? Okay, we’ll see you at the polls in six weeks."

Some optimists believe that this minority government could be the start of a move towards proportional representation in Canada, free votes in Parliament, a greater role for an elected Senate, and, in short, a more democratic government. After all, parties will need to work together if they don’t want to bring all of government down.

I have my doubts because that means MPs will have to put our national interests before their personal and party interests, and during the campaign the major players made it abundantly clear that nobody was willing to compromise on anything. If you thought the campaign was negative, just wait until budget time rolls around.

On a positive note, voter turnout was up across the country, which means that most of you do care a little about the future. In the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast riding the turnout was up 4 per cent.

Still, I wonder how much of that voter turnout was driven by anger – anger at Liberal scandals, anger at the Conservative platform, anger at the budget-cutting anglophones – rather than an honest interest in our national politics. The Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois and NDP all made gains off the flagging Liberals, while the Green Party at last earned official status with more than two per cent of the vote, which could be the most positive thing to come out of this whole election. At least people are thinking in the long-term.

It was, after all, a campaign of small, inoffensive ideas, written in crayon to pander to the largest possible audience. The Big Ideas, which tend to be controversial and upset the people who don’t want to rock the boat, never once made it into the debate.

Our country needed a complete overhaul, but we only got the tires rotated.

Maybe that’s just my cynical interpretation of this election, but there’s a good reason for it.