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Election Night at NDP Headquarters

So, it is easy for many of us on the left to say Monday nights results were a¬†disappointment, and I won’t claim to be happy with a Harper majority either, obviously. It’s a disgusting thing for many reasons, number one being how archaic our electoral process is when a minority of the population can vote in a majority government. But, for me and many others who have grown up as New Democrats, it can’t be looked at as a failure. Over one hundred seats in¬†parliament¬†for a left wing party is a huge success no matter how you swing it. I personally never¬†believed¬†it would happen, despite my identity being clearly rooted in the very important beliefs I share with the NDP.

For any Americans who may not understand how it works here in Canada, our Conservatives are like your Republicans, our Liberals are like your Democrats, and our New Democrats are essentially your Independents on the far left. Imagine your far left party suddenly stealing more than half the Democrats votes during an election. It would never happen. But that is what happened here on Monday night, and it was incredible to be there when the NDP was announced the Official Opposition party.

The fact that Stephen Harper pulled off that scary “majority” and the NDP gained such overwhelming support is because the Liberal party fell apart in every possible way. So those Liberals that lean right voted Conservative, while most left leaners went NDP. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest one is that the Conservatives were serving attack ads against Michael Ignatieff from the minute it was announced he was the new Liberal leader. Long before there was an election called I knew Iggy was a “traitor” who had lived overseas and in the States (working as a Professor at some of the best Universities in the world). His name became synonymous with unpatriotic. No Canadian wants to vote someone who prefers living outside of Canada into office.

It was forward thinking campaigning on the part of the Conservatives, in their vigilant attempt to destroy the Liberal party, who they have always seen as their real competition. The other big thing is that, as smart and brilliant as Iggy is (and I do¬†believe¬†he would have made a MUCH better Prime Minister than Harper, by a mile) he is a terrible public speaker. At the debates he appeared to have no platform, and no real¬†argument. His entire debate was focused on repeating why the election was called (aka what a nutjob Harper is) but he didn’t give any good reasons why we should vote for him. He didn’t even talk about what the Liberals stand for. I watched the debate and had no idea what their platform was, and left it remembering only that he said “At least we get into office” as a rebuttal to Jack Layton, and how I knew in that minute he was done. As Jack said, that is the arrogance Canadians despise, and I hope he ate those words Monday night as the NDP took all his seats.

What we know now is that the Liberals need to suck it up and merge with the NDP before it is too late and far right destroys everything Canada is known for. We can not have four parties on the left and one on the right if we ever want to stop the richest of the rich from killing every good thing about this country. As Harper will be cutting all government financial support for parties, Liberals won’t have a leg to stand on anyway.

The fact that it has become the right wing against the left wing, rather than the right against the middle as per usual, is wonderful. In one light, it represents the huge divide between the rich and poor that will get much deeper in the next four years of damage Harper will do. But the upside to that comes when all the normally Liberal fools who voted Conservative come to see what they caused. The next Prime Minister will not be a Conservative, but now there is a huge chance it will be Jack Layton, and that makes the next four years of shit worth it. I want 2015 to hurry up and get here for that reason alone, but for now I will be happy that my party finally has the real support it needs to do what Iggy said we couldn’t, and make it into office.

Jack Layton ran the best campaign I’ve ever seen in Canada, and it felt great to¬†congratulate¬†him Monday night.

Lisa

The Federal Election – Inspiring the Youth Vote

On Tuesday night the party leaders took to CBC to debate the issues that matter to Canadians. I can only imagine how few Canadians my age actually watched the debates. As a passionate supporter of the left, it has always shocked me how little my peers care about politics considering how much the Conservative government takes away from youth and the arts. I realize this is partly because Canadian politics come off as boring (watch Steven Harper speak for 20 seconds to see what I mean), partly because we don’t have big celebrity voices to tell our youth to vote, and also because our elections happen so fast that they don’t have the chance to go as viral as they do in the States (where they have two years to develop campaigns).

It is probably because of these reasons that some brilliant minds have come together to create ShitHarperDid.com, obviously inspired by What The Fuck Has Obama Done So Far? While WTF Has Obama Done was showcasing all the great changes Obama has made in his two short years in office, Shit Harper Did is highlighting the incredible amount of truly shitty things Harper has done to set Canada back over the past five years. The response since the word has spread has been so great it crashed the website, and that to me is impressive news that means our youth may actually be taking note and being educated on just what we have lost due to this Harper government.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are capable of pushing Harper out of office if our youth take a few minutes to vote on May 2nd. It is proven that the youth population does not support the Conservative government, but because of the jaded sentiment that all politicians are the same, they don’t vote. Many do not realize what actually happens when a man like Harper, voted in by the rich white 40+ demographic, is in power. Considering all the damage he has done with only a Minority government, it sickens me to think what would happen if he were to get a Majority.

As a population that uses the internet more than any other country in the world, going viral is the best way to reach our youth. It seems we are starting to use the great marketing example we had down south that elected the first black President to help fuel young Canadians to vote. Celebrity endorsements may not be necessary if we can get brilliant videos like this one on screens all across Canada:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQm0t1v2wOM[/tube]

This is what my demographic responds to. Humor, satire, Canadian references only our youth would get. It is absolutely perfect. Of course, the message might be stronger if it were backed by a specific party. The ultimate point is to vote Harper out, but that is hard to do when our votes are split so widely across the other four parties. Our abundance of choices left of center, as great as it is to have them, is the reason conservatives get in office at all.

From my point of view, Jack Layton won the debate, being the only candidate who actually challenged Harper. Of course Harper’s response to every fact they threw at him was “That’s simply not true”. He can deny everything over and over again, but the proof is easily available – and with sites like ShitHarperDid.com he can’t keep it hidden anymore.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDk2R2_SHEE[/tube]

A FEW BIG REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE HARPER OUT

The conservative government supports big tax cuts for the rich, has cut funding for a plethora of valuable and necessary services, is a big supporter of privatization that would be financially devastating to the many that rely on our health care system, has made it clear they do not support the arts in any way, wants to make it easier for criminals to get their hands on guns by cutting the gun registry (!!!!!), wants to make it policy to have complete access to what every Canadian does on the internet at all times, made it harder for immigrants to move here, and gave million dollar bonuses to executives with our money. And don’t even get me started on the tax money he blew on G20 to lock me in my apartment, turn Toronto into a police state, and send my peers to jail for protesting. That is just a few of the many awful things Harper stands for.

I know this is primarily a music blog, but I live in Canada under the rule of Harper, and worse yet – in Toronto where Rob Ford is the mayor. I feel like I’m stuck in the Twilight Zone. The balance of power needs to shift back to a place of sanity. If we – the artists, the creators, the students, the graduates struggling to find a job in this awful economy – vote for a party that supports what we do, being a young Canadian will stop being such a struggle. It is not socialism to support your people, as Harper wants us to believe. It is human decency, something Canada was known for until Harper turned our international reputation into a joke.

To keep this blog somewhat on track, I suggest you listen to this awesome Tom Waits-ish bluesy song telling Harper to GTFO:

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLfbp-HEylU[/tube]

Please, please vote on May 2nd. The only reason you think your vote doesn’t count is because so many young people don’t use it. If voting were mandatory like it is in some countries, Harper never would have never made it out of Calgary in the first place.

Show your support and help ShitHarperDid.com go viral around Canada by Liking it on Facebook, tweeting the links, and sharing thier awesome videos. Obama in 2008 proved the youth vote does count, but first we have to show up.

Lisa