Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Mouse and the Elephant Hold a Vote

All y'all south of the 49th Parallel have no doubt been somewhat distracted these past few weeks, but those of us up here in the Great White North are also having an election.

What you also may not know is that a small amount of speculation about the timing of the election call - Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke his own rules about observing fixed dates for elections by calling it for October 14 - revolved around Harper (who was ruling over a minority government at the mercy of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois) wanting to avoid being forced to face an election in the shadow of an "Obama Bounce", the perceived rise in fortunes of the Liberal Party if Barak Obama won the US elections.

See, Harper's Conservatives are considered friends of G.W. Bush's Republican Party; Harper's neocon politics, it was mused, would give him limited access at best to an Obama administration. And good relations with the US are always better for Canada than poor relations; we are, as Pierre Trudeau famously said, like “a mouse in bed with an elephant…no matter how friendly…one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” So the Conservatives didn't want the pesky Libs or NDippers voting against a confidence bill and forcing them to face an election in the warm glow of an Obama/Biden victory and a Progressive Morning in America.

And further to that theme, here is what passes for negative campaigning in Canada these days; the Liberal Party was running this ad on the CBC website when I snagged it. So just being depicted in the company of G.W. is a liability in not only the US (Obama's ads include shots of McCain in a golf cart with W.) but in Canada. Interesting what a shadow your country and your election are casting over ours. (The website on the ad, BushHarper.com, by the way, is home to two ads comparing Harper and Bush's policies. The one on foreign policy [read: Iraq] is particularly biting.)

I must say that I feel a bit bad about the use of Old Glory as a very pointed backdrop to this image. What did she ever do to deserve that?

ronnie

PS: If you're interested, there's a very good condensation of the current Canadian political situation in this Slate article.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Laura Brown said...

Is it unusual for you guys to have an election the day after a holiday (Thanksgiving)? It seems to me a lot of people might be on the road that day.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

oh, barfolino!!! at least he's not kissing bush like joe lieberman or john mccain. why they all don't push his ugly face in is beyond me....

3:59 PM  
Blogger ronnie said...

Laura, it is unusual... everything about the timing of this election has been unusual. They're normally held on Mondays, although I'm not certain if that is legislated or tradition. The holiday Monday moves voting day to Tuesday. I've never seen that before.

It adds to the speculation that, after navigating running a minority government for a couple of years, Harper suddenly needed to call an election now. (Breaching his own "fixed election" legislation to do so.) Folks up here are calling it the "Seinfeld election" - the election about nothing. Except that he apparently had to do it now.

That's partly where the speculation about the "Obama bounce" came from. Why now? So that the opposition parties wouldn't be able to force an election on the heels of an Obama win in the US. (I have no strong opinion either way on whether this is true, but I think it's possible.)

XE, you're posting good stuff. Stay mad! :) Maybe we'll both get our countries back by November.

ronnie

10:54 PM  

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