election day in canada

It`s been a weekend of mega head-lines vying for attention. In the midst of Royal weddings and Papal beatifications, the Canadian prairies were hit with a massive spring blizzard. The strong winds, rain and snowfalls have added to the already tense flood situations with the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Today, the media is filled with updates and commentaries on the death of Osama bin Laden. And here, in our fair country, it`s election day.

There is a sense of dejà vu with this election. After all, it`s the fourth federal election in eight years. We can`t be blamed for voter apathy. And we can`t be blamed for a certain disgust with the current crop of political leaders. Election campaigns try our patience. As for respectful dialogue…we can`t even expect respectful debate.

My husband and I sat down to watch the televised leader`s debates on April 12th. We did it out of a sense of civic duty. No leader or party was standing out as a shining beacon of hope for our country. We counted ourselves as members of that great community of `the undecided`. We hoped for some intelligent discussion to help us make an intelligent choice.

The disappointment set in with the first round of questioning. Prime Minister Harper calmly skirted the question. Bloc Leader, Gilles Duceppe, responded by spouting formulaic policy statements unrelated to the question at hand. And they were off….to nowhere.

Imagine, for one moment, an election campaign that is based on the concept of dialogue. All candidates would understand the value of an economy of words. Statements would be transparent, honest, and poetic in their simplicity. And each candidate would know the value of respectful silence – of allowing all voices to be heard so that they may be judged on their merit and not their loudness. Sigh….I`m off to watch the results….

9:56 pm CST

Final results aren`t in yet, but there`s been a major shake-down in our government. CBC is projecting a majority Conservative government. The Liberals (the other major national party) are major losers as are the Bloc Québecois – the separatist party. The New Democratic Party are the big winners, taking most of the seats in Québec and are now the official opposition for the first time in history. Perhaps this bodes well, with the stability of a majority government and the newness of an NDP opposition. The people have spoken.