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Friday, May 6, 2011

And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain

This post originally appeared here: http://voteagainstapathy.blogspot.com/2011/05/and-now-end-is-near-and-so-i-face-final.html

As you can see, since I am in fact posting this here now, I have decided to continue blogging about anything and everything that interests me! Yay for no longer being limited to election coverage.

So. It's been a good run. Over the course of the election, I wrote 100 posts (this is the 101st on this blog). And you know what? For all of our activism, the voter turnout only went up by 1%.

Where do we go from here? I could keep on blogging about Canadian politics but now that we're in a majority government situation, there's not likely to be a vote anytime soon so the title of this blog, at least might be a little irrelevant. Also I would have to start taking stances on policy issues not related to youth and student issues, something I've been trying to avoid doing this election because this blog was intended to appeal to youth voters of all political leanings (as long as they believe in the Westminster System...).

I haven't decided on my blogging future. I may just go back to my old blog on feminist issues. Or I may stop entirely.

As for the future of the country? Economists are pleased, claiming that the Harper majority will stabilize the economy. They talk a lot about how this majority means less uncertainty, but I'm not too sure.

Oh, I'm not all doom and gloom like the folks over at The Galloping Beaver.

There will be no sudden declaration of martial law or dramatic day when CPC stormtroopers surround Stornaway or round up dissidents in the night - there won't need to be. That nice, soft-spoken, Christian economist and hockey dad who just wants to protect us from the bad guys doesn't work that way. There will just be a steady drip of manufactured small crises that lead to privatization, deregulation, and "temporary" security measures, until we get back to the good old days of the robber barons.

I'm not that cynical. But I am nervous.

From my perspective, this majority means more uncertainty, not less. Is certainty measured in whether or not there is a clear leader in the House of Commons? One constant you will always see in a minority government is compromise. The parties compromise in order to run the country, which means things tend to run down the middle of the political spectrum, nothing much drastic happens to get either side too riled up. In other words, outside of Question Period, the country is calm. Change is slow and gentle. But majorities can do things--big things--drastic things. And often, in the past, they have surprised their electorate. I find much uncertainty in not knowing what the Conservatives will choose to do with their majority, and yet knowing that they CAN do whatever they choose.

And even if the economy initially stabilizes due to perceived lack of uncertainty--the economy is largely a psychological beast after all--with the strength of the NDP, union party par excellence, how can there not be striking?

A friend of mine, a recent graduate of business school, thinks the country is going to hell in a handbasket. She's appalled by the Conservative majority, hating their social conservatism, and possibly even more appalled by the strength of the NDP and their left-wing economics. Where is my centrist party? she asks.

Another friend sees the rise of the NDP as a positive development. The polarization of opinion in this country is a good thing, according to her, because the parties can differentiate themselves more. Centrist parties and special interest parties like the Bloc have no place in the current ideological landscape.

Can we reconcile all our opposing views? I don't know anymore. We're moving farther and farther away from the conciliatory style, all about compromise and attempted consensus, championed by early prime ministers like Laurier, and more and more towards the down-and-dirty uber-partisan uncompromising two-party republic along the lines of the US. Some people think this is a good thing, and others want to move to Australia.

But maybe my favourite prediction for the future is this. "Stephen Harper is going to pull a Brian Mulroney," said my Awesome Housemate last night. "He's going to do all this crap, and then everyone will hate him, and at the next election he'll lose everything and the NDP will win."

Oh, my inner instincts are warring between delight at the political games and sadness at what this will mean for the parliamentary system I love so dearly...

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