Monday, May 02, 2011

Election night 2011

When you’re not cheering for the winning team, watching the game gets very depressing.

I usually don’t get emotionally involved watching sports. I might have a team I root for, but if they lose I tend to shrug it off and walk away feeling little more than a vague disappointment. I guess I never really saw the point in investing that much mental energy into something so completely beyond my control or removed from my personal life.

But the game I’ve been watching tonight is quite different – and it’s not a game at all. It’s directly related to my personal life, my community and my country. I’ve invested myself, my time and energy into it. I can’t just walk away from this with a shrug because the winners of this game are going to run my country for the next four year.

For the next four years our tax dollars will be poured into fighter jets and prison expansion. Our social programs – especially those addressing the needs of women and the poor – will continue to be slashed. Sure our federal deficit may be reduced – but at what cost to our communities?

Well, the media predicted that change was coming. It certainly has – although not the change that approximately 60% of Canadians were hoping for. Such a broken system we live with. I sat on the couch tonight, watching the numbers roll in. While thrilled to see the rise of the NDP, I am so discouraged by Harper’s majority.

Interesting to watch what Peter Mansbridge described as “the near destruction of one of Canada’s founding political parties.” Results showed how support for the Liberals bled into two very different parties – those right of centre Liberals voted Conservative in order to stop a Layton victory; those left of centre turned to the NDP as the party that could perhaps stop a Tory majority. In some cases, the vote just split between Liberals and NDP, parting the waters to the Tories could sail right on in.

But a chasm will open up on the floor in the House of Commons and swallow all hope of co-operation. A Conservative majority and social democratic opposition. The lines are clearly drawn.

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