I couldn't believe my eyes. Or ears. Or rapidly rising heartbeat. It actually happened.
Dion called an election.
Or rather, he probably would have, if only he'd have had the chance. But no, Harper got the jump on him and dissolved Parliament with a visit to the GG's house in the Sussex Hood. Rather rudely canceling her trip to China, I might add. And she was going to have so much fun comparing medal totals from Beijing. Ah, C'est la vie.
So, Harper one-ups Dion again (surprise) and calls a fall election. The issues are: The Environment, The Economy, and the.... yeah. Basically that's what it comes down to folks in this election as far as policy goes. Dion's Carbon Tax has been branded by both the NDP and the Conservatives as either "insane" or brutal for Canadian families. And the Bloc thinks it's well... I don't know what the Bloc thinks, they only campaign in Quebec. But anyways, the Liberals want to save the environment with a tax (okay, a tax shift). Unfortunately for Dion, tax tends to have a bit of negative stigma attached to it, so it might not go over so well in an election situation. Especially in British Columbia, where they already have a Carbon Tax. Guess BC will really get a chance to solidify it's reputation as the land of the tree-hugging hippies, whether we want to or not. Now, to be fair, making people hate something is the best way to get them to stop doing it, so if Canadians hate paying a lot for gas, they're pretty likely to start bussing or walking instead. Same goes for the markets. If consumers are going green, then they'll move right with them, because that's how free markets work people. Doesn't mean that the projects in the oil sands are going to like it, but they'll just have to make $100 billion dollars instead of $200 billion. Or making a hydrogen car that actually works.
Of course, that's only in the event that Dion becomes Prime Minister. Our current chappie Stevey Joe is another thing altogether. His plan for the environment seems sketchy at best, and after having several chances to put through an environment bill worked on by all parties through the House of Commons, they've dropped the ball and given it to John Baird to chew on. Other hallmarks of Harper's 31-month lease at Sussex include:
1) Yelling at the Liberals
2) Passing an immigration act that selects cheap labour over well educated immigrants
3) Demeaning Stephane Dion (although really, you sort of get that with the job when you enter politics)
4) Bribing an independant MP's vote (No, we won't let you forget Cadman, Harper. Never)
5) Yelling at the Liberals
6) Having a high-profile cabinet minister leave important foreign affairs documents out for everyone to see (okay, only Maxime Bernier's wife who used to be "special friends" with the leader of the Hell's Angels, but that's pretty much everyone anyways)
7) Yelling at the Liberals
8) Having his HQ raided by the RCMP because the Conservatives didn't spend according to the rules in the previous election
9) Yelling at the Liberals
10) Having his closest friend and mentor caught up inside a scandal that could be as damaging to the conservatives as the Sponsorship Scandal was to the Liberals (Mulroney! Now you can be remembered for something other than the GST!)
11) And finally, yelling at the Liberals
Now, this list looks pretty horrible, I know, but let's remember that all of those yelling points can be summed up into one, and so can the point about Stephane Dion, so let's reduce our final number to 5.
Those five negative things done while Harper was in office were mostly out of his control, excpet the Immigration thing and the Cadman thing, but basically for the other three, it sucked to be him. But, there were many more good things that the Conservatives passed while in government. Like cutting the GST to 5%. Like delivering two balanced budgets and paying off billions of dollars of federal debt. (There's a long ways to go, but every nine zeroes count). He's given families $1200 a year in child benefit cheques (or whatever they're called). He's finally set an end date for our mission in Afghanistan (I know it was hard Steve, but we're so proud of you!). And he has cut personal income taxes for families across the country. All this, and his government has been spending more than any previous Canadian government in history. Of course, a booming economy does help.
However, the honeymoon period is over. And it was so good, that Canada might be ready to give Steve a majority. But their are rocky waters ahead my friends. The United States is heading into some kind of economic quagmire, and I've heard rumours that America plans on riding it out by slapping some tariffs on Canadians goods to pay for social saftey nets. The next Prime Minister must have a plan to get us through what could be a rocky ten years of recession, or we could be looking at the federal debt going right back up where it used to be.
Let's not forget our other party leaders. Except the Bloc, they can just stay in Quebec.
Jack Layton sees himself as the replacement for Stephane Dion. I would love for Jack to become the new opposition or even Prime Minister, but the memory of the 1990's in BC and Ontario is all too fresh, and one seat in Outremont doesn't seem like it'll cut it for Quebec. That said, BC showed a massive increase for the New Democrats during the past week in swing ridings, possibly due to the current success of the provincial NDP in slamming Gordon Campbell's Liberals.
Then of course, there's Elizabeth May. She made headlines and history when she got the Green Party into the leaders debate at the beginning of October. While this is historic indeed, I remain skeptical whether or not running against Conservative powerhouse Peter McKay in Nova Scotia was a great idea. We'll see how that turns out.
So that's the election from my point of view. Sorry that it wasn't quite as funny as normal, (or is it even normally funny?) I'll try better next time.