I’ve tried twice to write a post for today, the first anniversary of the election of the Liberal government in Canada. I didn’t like the tone of either, not enough “sunny ways,” so I gave up. They say third time is the charm.
My first attempt was a tongue-in-cheek approach, praising the government for its accomplishments. Problem was I couldn’t think of any – other than assisted suicide and an ever increasing government deficit and debt that will take my children decades to pay for. That post didn’t seem celebratory enough, given that for many Canadians the honeymoon period with this new government hasn’t ended.
Then I thought I should talk about how robust Canadian democracy is, which is true. But does anyone really want to talk about that? It conjures up ideas of electoral reform, which was have been promised is coming, though the government doesn’t want us to know what changes they would like to see. There is a principle of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” but they don’t like that one.
Of course, I could have made it personal and heap some praise upon Prime Minister Selfie. He has after all set a Canadian, or maybe even a world record for photo ops. He is giving the people what they want, though that has prevented him from actually doing anything to address national issues. I guess he still has time for that, because, as I mentioned, the next election is still three years away. Though actually governing does increase the risk of unpopularity, so he might think twice about trying it.
All feeble attempts at humour aside, looking back at the choice Canadians faced a year ago today, one thing really stands out. We have four national parties, with very different policy offerings and very different leaders. There was a lot of heated debate in the campaign, from both citizens and politicians, about what would be best for the country. However, unlike what is happening in the USA this year, our national discussions were more about policy than personality. It was highly charged and political, but none of the leaders threatened an opponent with jail. There may have been a dislike or even detest for another’s policies, but the leaders treated each other with basic respect.
That is something that appears to be sorely lacking down south. American politics has become a morass of toxic personalities. I haven’t heard much mention of policy.
Which has me thinking. Maybe it is time for change in America. The country is polarized between two candidates that nobody likes, not even their own party members. There are still a few weeks to go before voting day, so why not think outside the box a little.
Perhaps the US should push the pause button on the 2016 presidential election. Nobody really likes what’s on offer. Keep the office vacant until 2020. Let the bureaucrats run the White House while the two major parties take a long hard look at themselves and the calibre of the people they want to lead them.
Yes, I know, there are some constitutional issues, but they can be overcome. And I admit the US needs a head of state for those four years. I have a solution: the USA can borrow Prime Minister Selfie. He’s very popular, and from a Canadian perspective there is no reason he can’t do both jobs. Let him do the photo ops, and the adults can do the real work of governing the country. And maybe, if you like him, you can keep him. That would improve the political life of both countries.
Don’t dismiss it out of hand – it just might work.