So in Ontario local election campaigns are underway, I already know who I’m voting for in my ward and have a good sense of who I want as mayor. I’m lucky I have people to vote for instead of only people to vote against. I’ve always found local politics dull, uninterestingly petty and really just weasel verse weasel. Then my brother in law invites me to Pints and Politics which lead me to find new friends, opened my eyes to what this city’ potential could be.
Part of me still thinks London Ontario Canada is merely a loose confederacy of warring suburbs. Our downtown is merely a collection of suburbs at the centre of concentric suburbs that sprawl outward. As a person who would, if resources permitted, divide his time between Paris within the old city walls and some ancient old growth forrest accessible only by floatplane, London just doesn’t do it for me. I was caught in the trap of materialism, that a city is merely infrastructure and buildings. Yet lately people are showing me a city is merely the people who live their, the infrastructure and buildings are irrelevant.
I was born in London yet it is not my home town. I don’t have a home, it is a luxury for those who have stable upbringings and are free from the lust to wander off to explore. Yet, I’m learning that I do have a stake in this city, the great grandfather I’m named for moved here to start a business over a hundred years ago, I’ve met and befriended some amazing people, plus it is where most of my stuff is. For similar reasons I have a stake in Hamilton but I’m losing focus, should’ve written notes for this.
One of the things I hate about my country is identifying with province over the nation. As if the local administrative district was more important than the whole. It is more of those silos I ranted about in a previous post. I’ve heard rumours that Ontario is going to be having a spring election and honestly I could care less. Until there is an corruption effort in Ontario, and I discover people passionate enough to help fight for it, we might as well just anoint Rob Ford proconsul and go back to smoking our crack pipes. If we can’t be honest about our problems we should just go with whomever is most self destructive to make ourselves feel superior.
What really sparked this blog, and I know I’m a bit late to this, is the new “Fair Elections Act” and the leaked documents from the Conservative Party of Canada. I get most of my news from the BBC, honestly Canadian media outlets assume I went to school in Ontario, I did but I ignored the teachers and the curriculum. Watching international news like I have since those cool pictures from the Falklands War when I was seven, Harriers, sorry, you hear a lot of stories of incumbent governments manipulating the election laws or constitutions to outlaw anything that benefits opponents.
We already have the most controlling Prime Minister since Confederation, the most manipulative ruling party in Western Democracy and now they get to muzzle the Chief Electoral Officer? Add to this the leaked documents use of the terms like ‘creating news’ or ‘friendly media’ and I’m getting ready to defect to a real democracy, if there are any left. When did all of our media outlets in this country turn into propaganda arms of the political, economic, or labour establishments?
This is another thing I hate about my country, the overwhelming sense our hard fought for political systems have been handed over to the highest bidders. The Westminster Parliamentary system is the best our species has come up with and yet our version acts like a rubber stamp. We’ve allowed our representatives to become hostages to the executive, from holding the life of the Prime Minister in their hands to begging for handouts. The system was designed for citizens to hold their MP to account, for the MP to hold the executive and the Crown to account but now the executive holds us to account.
So get ready Ontario residents, we face a constant series of campaigns until October 19th 2015. Being a pessimist I will assume we will end up with the same, unimaginative, divisive, overly packaged drivel that has become the tombstone to Canadian Democracy. We Canadians are such a damaged people we will go for one of the groups of elitists who insult our intelligence or promise us everything without ever having to pay for anything. At least I know now their are people out there who are trying to fight the national inertia, one of whom will have my help on the campaign.
If you made it this far in my self indulgent, meandering rant…what the hell? Go watch Olympic coverage or “They” will take those wonderful bread and circuses from us. Remember though, Democracy is a blood sport and we are all players which means we need to play through the pain like champions. I’m going to pour more red wine and play some Napoleon Total War first…