Goddamn it, Canada. I thought we'd come so far. I thought, after over a century of defining ourselves negatively against our noisy neighbours to the south, we'd crafted a distinct & sovereign sense of national self. After all, our elephantine bedmate has been neither a "friendly and even-tempered" beast nor an honourable example to follow.
But no, evidently Canada wants to mirror its adjacent nation, bisecting into a fiercely polarized country whose vocal majority is composed of pigheaded reactionaries terrified of taxes. As in America, the political timbre is being tuned by retrogressive, provincial rubes. So New Brunswick, southern Ontario, Saskatchewan, and especially my fellow Albertans, I hail you in the resonant words of Mr. BDR: nation of motherfucking crackers.
However, there is a considerably bright silver lining to this otherwise dismal election: the New Democratic Party has vaulted from a modest Parliamentary presence to the official opposition. Instead of the ruling right-wingers being opposed by a bunch of milquetoast militarist corporate apologists (cf. American Democrats), they will face a socially progressive, communally-minded party with dedicated nationwide support. The mind reels pondering what hysterical smears American news organizations will chuck at the NDP, given that the American "left" falls somewhere around the middle of the Canadian political spectrum. I can already imagine fat-assed whoremonger Dick Morris calling Jack Layton a "Trotskyite."
But despite their greatest electoral gain ever, the NDP does not have an easy road ahead. This has been the wildest toss-up in Parliament's composition since 1993, wherein Chrétien swept the country, the separatist Bloc Québécois became the official opposition, and the ruling Progressive Conservatives - who once held the largest majority in Canadian history - were nuked out of existence. Today's electoral shake-up is equally shocking, especially with the NDP wiping out the Bloc. The problem is that, between the Conservative's new majority and the collapse of the Liberal Party, Layton has comparatively less influence in Parliament than during the previous minority government. Not only will he have to fight harder to rebuff the Conservatives' mandate, Layton's hard-won prominence is entirely dependent on the notoriously fickle & self-interested Quebec. If he fails to satisfy "les chialeux qui font rien," the NDP's new gains could be nullified the next time around.
But reelection schemes be damned, all that matters now is oppugning Stephen Harper, that beady-eyed oligarchic android who bleeds oil. I would like to return to Canada someday, and I'd prefer it not to have been transfigured into a snowy, sparsely-populated counterfeit of the United States. I left that country for a goddamned reason.