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And In Canada: Out with the Old and In with the Chance for Something New

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Once not so long ago, a few years back, when asked about the possibility of closer integration with Canada, an American politician rebuffed such notions for fear of giving the Democrats an entire state — the state of Canuckistan as one commentator put it.

Cute, but I preferred the United People’s Republic of Canadadistan.

Ok. Let’s grow up. Is all this name-calling fair and accurate?  I haven’t been too fond of Canadian politics for quite some time, and I don’t hold out too much hope that things will change all that much. However, don’t look now, but Canada seems to be learning to love the color blue these days.

That Canada would vote Democrat is not necessarily a given anymore. The tide shifted first with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party when he managed to revive that party and win a minority government. The second shift came with the remarkable performance of Mario Dumont in the province of Quebec and its recent elections.

Man, this country hasn’t rocked like this since, like, the Beachcombers!

Let me explain further. Mario Dumont is the leader of a party called Action Democratique du Quebec (ADQ). A third party that promised to offer Quebecers real choice against the tired, stale governance of the twin unholy offerings of the Liberals and Parti Quebecois (a party dedicated to creating a Quebecois nation).

The Liberals and PQ spoke a language that didn't connect to us young folk. ”Huh? What was that Mr. Charest? Blah, blah, blah?”  We are seeking to usher in a new mentality and direction in Canadian culture. High taxes, unworkable and expensive social programs, and unions are not part of what we deem to be a dynamic society. We do tend to believe more in market forces and the individual. We tend to look less at what the government can do for us and more what we can do to control our own destiny. We want accountability to be brought back into our politics as well as at the social level. That means creating an atmosphere and spirit conducive to fostering a new and improved Canadian identity for the 21st century. Let's finally fulfill Wilfrid Laurier's "the 20th century belongs to Canada" in the 21st century.

We, my generaion (insert The Who here), also have grown disgusted with the apathy and indifference of Canadians in general. This attitude paved the way for the appalling arrogance and corruption of the Liberal Party of Canada who, until this day, remain unresponsive to the new demands of Canadians. You get what you deserve, eh?

Provincially, it was Quebec who once again threw an interesting curve ball into the political landscape of this country.  Widely regarded as a center-left society, Quebecers excitingly voted the right-leaning Mario Dumont and his team of limited experienced politicians into power as an opposition to Jean Charest’s egocentric Liberal party who were in turn rewarded with a minority government.

Quebecers have a strong tradition of voting for conservative candidates. So the fact that they gave Harper a shot at the national level and Dumont at the provincial is not all that surprising. What was shocking was the manner in which they did it.  They gave Dumont the clear mandate to be the opposition while relegating the once powerful and now pitiful Parti Quebecois – and their ludicrous Green/Separatist campaign – to third-party status. Dumont’s inexperience did not matter anymore.

So important was this message that some are murmuring if the idea of breaking up Canada is now just a pipe dream. Which of course it is. It took the ADQ to truly show what the real will of Quebec was and the fact is that separatism had its greatest support among students, rural areas, and the poor. Everyone has to wake up from a dream. Except his one had become a nightmare.

Things have swung in Canada, and I welcome this change. It’s refreshing. The whole Canadian political landscape had become jaded and cynical. It’s basically a farce when you consider just how much power the Prime Minister (PM) has. It would be nice if Canadians did not have to wait for an election to have the option and ability to fire a PM from time to time. I crave for the day a leader who challenges his people with effrontery to be hurled naked from Parliament. Seems to me it would keep everyone honest.

For a small example of how things are fast changing, one need only look at the fact that more and more people are set to bail from the atrocious, third-world state of our public health system to seek access to private health care. Citizens are rightfully outraged that our leaders played petty politics with our health. Our lives.

In America people begin with “ I should” and “What can I do” when it comes to improving their lives. In Canada we tend to begin a quest for answers with “the government should… I simply reject this outlook.

With Harper and Dumont around perhaps this mentality will shift a little. And who knows? We may see a most interesting phase in this country’s young political life.

Don’t let me down boys. This is no longer Canuckistan. It’s Canada to you, Mister.

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About Alessandro Nicolo