The Huffington Post recently shared a video comparing the US Republican debate with the first Canadian leaders debate that aired on Thursday August 6, 2015. The video basically shows how well behaved and civil we are as compared to the shit shows that make up the top half of the Republican presidential nominees. Professional heatbag Donald Trump even announced at the very beginning of the debate that if one of the other hopefuls actually won the nomination he refused to say that he wouldn’t run as an independent. What. A. Douchebag.
The two debates were hilarious in their contrast. The US debate was set in some sort of football stadium with the candidates on a brightly lit stage with famous talk show hosts, and was assumedly adjudicated by an applause’o’meter borrowed from the Saved by the Bell set.
Then, there was the Canadian debate. Our host was respectable political editor for Maclean’s magazine, Paul Wells. There was neither cheering nor applause. The craziest thing that happened was Stephen Harper’s insistence on saying that the budget was balanced (which I suppose it is if you live in a glass cage of emotion instead of real life where the Parliamentary Budget Office suggests that Canada will run a deficit of $1.5 billion for 2015-16).
Anyway, while I was watching the YouTube video with the radical differences between our two elections I got to wondering whether we Canadians – especially young Canadians – would care more if our political sphere was more like an episode of Jersey Shore? In the last federal election, 38.8% of people in my then-age bracket voted. A further 45.5 of Canada’s 25-34 year-olds also voted. Our apathy knows no bounds.
So then, the question: would amping up our election into a reality television spectacle improve our impressively unimpressed voter turnout?
It wouldn’t be that hard. There’s Elizabeth May: super likeable hippie chick who accidentally got blitzed and gave a speech a few months ago but it turns out she’s actually completely bright and on point. Remember The OC? Elizabeth May is Summer from The OC.
Then there’s Father Christmas, Tom Mulcair, who literally had St. Nick’s twinkle in his eye during the debate. Who is the nicest person who was ever on television? I’d say it’s Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. That’s who Mulcair is except that also in a surprise turn of events Mulcair decided he was sick and tired of people saying this kinda stuff about him so when he announced his campaign he didn’t even take ONE question from reporters. He just dropped the mic and left the stage like Eminem at the end of Eight Mile.
Obviously the most interesting personalities involved in this year’s election are Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper who I’m sure have never actually been friends. BUT, let’s imagine that they were for one second. Come with me if you will, and let me tell you just how their twisted saga began.
Basically, Justin Trudeau (“JT”) and Stephen Harper (“Steve”) were on Big Brother (the original) together. They met on the first day and upon falling in a deep bromance (‘cuz don’t forget that opposites attract) they decided they would band together and form an alliance for all the voting and whatnot. And week after week they did…until week 6 when, suddenly and without warning, JT made a sneaky switch to The Hot Girl’s team and didn’t vote in concert with Steve. Steve got booted off the show that very same episode, and then JT went on to win the whole thing. So now, Steve really has it out for him.
And so now, in this extra long election season, Steve’s a bit mad. This could even be the real reason why Steve has decided that it would be appropriate to call JT the familiar “Justin” instead of Mr. Trudeau.
You can’t make this stuff up!
May’s outstanding performance as cool and smart chick has made her the winner of Twitter momentum: she gained 3,300 new Twitter followers – more than any of the other parties. With that said, JT earned the spotlight of being discussed on Twitter. Quandary whether gaining followers or being tweeted about is the better postive indicator of Twitter success.
Try not to get too excited about your favourite new Twitter account though: May has not been invited to any of the following three debates, so the next chance you have to see a little head to head action about who should get voted out of the house will only be featuring The Boys.
Never fear though because the campaign is set to be 11 weeks long and that means lots of time for the four stars of this show to get all up in your faces. With Harper’s parade of new legislation, the ongoing debate about the oil sands and the pipelines, and what’s sure to amount to lots of name calling, the drama will be at its finest. I think we’re set to see the best reality television since Flava Flav’s Flava of Love.
However, even without any of the foolish parody and I’ve set out above, this should be on your radar. Why? Why does it matter? Well it matters because you live here and you have an option to exercise some amount of control over your life. It matters because democracy – real democracy, with real votes and real outcomes – is one of the most beautiful social structures we have decided upon. And on a really practical level: it matters because we have to pay for it.
You may not yet be paying taxes, but believe this girl – who recently used up the last of her tuition credits – that you will, and that’s when it has the greatest potential to sting. Stephen Harper has been in power for an entire decade, which means that plenty of people who didn’t have to actually pay taxes when he went into power now pay them. How many of those people wouldn’t have voted for him? Don’t let someone else buy something on your behalf that you don’t like.
Not voting is like going on a first date with a person who orders your meal for you when you’re in the bathroom. When it comes out, you don’t like it. Don’t spend the next four years on a series of bad first dates accompanied by food you don’t like when you could have had something different. Vote. Vote. Vote.
Next week I’m going to review the new Fair Elections Act (and discuss the uber drama of non-Conservatives calling it the UNfair Elections Act) and tell you every nuance you need in order to make sure you get your say on October 19th.
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