When

The Canadian government fell on a Motion of Confidence 2 weeks ago, and our Governor General requested that the Chief Electoral Officer issue a Writ of Election.

Those are probably the chiefest of reasons that I happened to be talking about politics at coffee the other day. I was talking with someone I know sort of well, and we got to talking about the motion that brought the government down and the events that triggered it.

It suddenly turned into a rabid conversation. I have been talking about politics with various people for years, decades really. Over the last few years, the discourse has changed. Our political life has changed as well. We have had 3 miniority parliments in the last 5 years (and 3 elections as well).

There are a great many things to be said for being a Candian. Perhaps what I like about us is our moderation. We are a nation of climate extremes and political moderation. We manage government health care and private gun ownership, and mostly we do it by having sensible sorts of conversations about it.

I don’t know what faith background the Prime Minister comes from, and I don’t know the names of his children, and I’m not completely convinced I could pick his wife out of a line up, and that’s fine. His faith background is absolutely none of my business. If he worships at a church or no church, this has no effect, whatsoever, on his ability to govern. I don’t care what faith the Leader of the Opposition is, and I don’t care that we have people of the muslim faith, the Sikh faith, some agnostics and some atheists in our parliment. I care that they do the best job for their constitutents and faithfully uphold democracy in my country. I care that they respect the institution of the House of Parliment.

I have always liked this about Canada. That we could sensibly sit down and talk about issues. You want to get rid of the Senate, or at least elect it, I want some variation of proportional representation, I like the long gun registry and you think it’s a monumental waste of money. I think I should pay more in taxes, you think the middle class should pay less. These are debates that are worth having, these are things we will only solve by talking.

And then, Monday, when we were talking about the election, and the vitriol and the hatred. I was rendered speechless. That wasn’t my Canada, however much I was standing in Canada at the moment. I looked at our flag flapping in the breeze, and I stood watching this woman, and I realized I didn’t know how our country would make it forward.

If reasonable people cannot sit down, each giving and each taking, if reasonable people cannot debate policies, if reasonable people cannot find a dream for the future that we can all hold in common. . .

Whatever will become of us?

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8 Responses to When

  1. debby says:

    Dear heavens…you’re becoming Americans.

    Don’t do this. I keep thinking that if America continues down the path we’re on, that I can always immigrate to Canada. If you become polarized and hostile, I’ll have no choice but to head to Australia.

  2. Michele says:

    Amen… Your govt makes me want to defect at times!

  3. Michele says:

    Amen… Your govt makes me want to defect at times! (I’m in the US)

  4. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I don’t know much (anything) about Canadian politics, but a lot of the time it seems to me that these things go in waves. So maybe this will be a short term thing and you’ll be back to reason soon.

  5. loribeth says:

    You know, I used to love elections. I went into university intending to get a BA in English & left with a BA in both English & Political Studies — I loved my first-year poli sci class so much. I was a card-carrying member of one of the political parties & volunteered for several elections (provincial & federal). I attended a pivotal national convention.

    Over the past 30 years, my enthusiasm has waned to practically nothing. Politics in this country has changed, and not for the better, I’m afraid. (Or maybe I’ve changed. Or maybe a little of both.) I can’t wait to get this election over with, whatever the outcome (& I’m not convinced that the result is going to be anything but another minority government). I couldn’t bring myself to watch the debate tonight.

    Sometimes, I fear for our country. I don’t want our politics to become as polarized as they are in the States, but I’m afraid that’s the direction we’re heading in. 🙁

  6. a says:

    I think politics have always been polarizing, but maybe populations were smaller and people felt they had to get along. Or maybe they just had better manners. I don’t know when we went from things like Common Sense to political commentators working to outshriek each other. I have to tune it out…

  7. Barb says:

    Good heavens. Hub is Canadian and has been worried about this for a while. We both miss and love so much about Canada. Perhaps it’s something about this threatening, big giant, interconnected world we’ve become that is sparking this? Because I know it’s becoming more extreme in other parts of the world too. And a nod to jen’s comment that it often comes in waves, but sometimes those eras last generations.

  8. Barb says:

    Just reading “Aftershock” by Robert Reich (LOVING it) and it addresses this phenomenon. Might be worth the read for you.

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