It’s election day north of the border, and the campaign has been an interesting one. The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party, has been in office nine years and hopes to add a few more. The Liberals are challenging him, led by Justin Trudeau, the charismatic but relatively unaccomplished son of former Prime Minister Paul Trudeau (see, they have dynastic politics, too!) The New Democratic Party, farther out on the left, currently holds the second-most seats in Parliament, but looks to shrink to third as the Liberals challenge them for the lion’s share of the left vote. There are also a few minor parties, and Quebec is its own thing, but that’s the gist of it.
The election campaign has been every bit as ugly an petty as our own (this morning the National Post called it the Worst Election Ever). Take a look at that piece if you ever have that absurd impulse of the American left to imagine that Canada is some sort of utopia and that America alone is trashy and lame.
Let me tell you: everybody’s trashy.
Remember Rob Ford, Toronto’s crack-smoking, hard-drinking mayor? He’s back on the scene, and still fairly popular. And has American politics ever featured a Congressional candidate dropped by his party because he was caught urinating in someone’s kitchen? We’ve had some odd stuff, but I don’t recall that one.
None of this is to say we’re superior to Canada, but rather to point out how similar we are. Elections bring out a lot of fervor and weird behavior on both sides of the border. But it’s more fun to watch from a safe distance, knowing that none of these folks will ever be in charge of your country.