How to get engaged in Canadian politics: an educational resource

Here is a handy guide that will help you, disenfranchised Canadian, get engaged with and get involved in the upcoming (eventually, at the end of several more weeks of pre-election hell) federal election!

  1. The first step, as the number to the left would indicate, is to click every single link you see in social media that shows the face of any of our current party leaders, and therefore, candidates for Prime Minister. In case you are not familiar with who’s who, I have devised this handy guide:
    stephen-harperThis is Stephen Harper. He is currently the Prime Meridian and he is also the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Literally nobody in the country likes him, except Relic from the Beachcombers. We elected him Prone Minister twice in a row out of vindication. I mean vindictiveness. The dude we elected him to replace was, like, old or whatever and the rule in Canada is that you cannot ever have a Post Mortician older than the flag. So we had to vote for someone younger than the other dude and Stephen Harper was the best liar. It’s also a rule in Canada that we can only elect liars, charlatans, and cheats. If we ever elect, or even come close to electing, someone who isn’t a complete fraud, the Canadian media won’t have anything to report on. And we love the Canadian media. They’re very nice. Because Stephen Harper is a Proper Canadian Politician, he has kindly provided a Scandal for the Canadian people *in addition to* his *regular* politician fraud! He has employed a HAIRDRESSER. Yes. A HAIRDRESSER. Fascist.

    gilles-duceppeThis is M. Gilles Duceppe, but his friends call him “Deuce”. He is the King of Quebec, and is running for the Bloc Quebecois. The Bloc is what French Canadians call a ‘one-trick pony’, which translated into English means “the socialist party isn’t socialist enough for us so we made our own”. Unfortunately, most Canadians can not vote for El Duce, because most Canadians don’t have any Bloc Quebecois candidates in their ridings. This is because most of Canada is not in Quebec. Although that would make a really neat Canadian Doctor Who episode. In Canada, Doctor Who would be called Doc Quoi? And he would be played by Bruno Gerussi. Or maybe Raffi. And the entire show would be filmed in that parkade at Portage and Main. Gilles Duceppe is the only candidate who has ever made any sense in the history of Canadian election debates. Unfortunately, only about 7 million people understand him, which is a lot (about 1/5 of Canada), actually. I mean. If you ate 7 million Reese Peanut Butter Cups, you would die. And that is why Gilles Duceppe is so dangerous.

    Justin Trudeau. [Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick]
    Justin Trudeau. [Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick]
    Justin Trudeau is the leader of the Liberal Party. Or, if you talk like Elmer Fudd, he is the Weeder of the Wibewow Potty. No matter how you say it, this kid has moxie. The dictionary tells me I am using that word correctly, except when in relation to Justin Trudeau, I like to pronounce it “mmmmmmmmmmmoxie”. Because I am a poet, I have that right. Trudeau’s father, if you listen to half of the people in Canada over the age of 60, ruined Canada. He was incredibly charismatic and often said things like “fiddle faddle” or “fuddy duddy”. Oh, I should mention that Justin Trudeau’s dad, who was called Prime Minister Trudeau, was both the 20th and the 22nd Pork Medallion of Canada, and under his government, the Canadian Constitution was patriated (taken away from the Queen of England in exchange for three beaver hats and some maple candy), the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was established and became law, the Access to Information Act was passed, and he invented the Canadian metric system. Justin Trudeau isn’t as old as his father, but he is very popular. This rankles the super old candidates because they are old. Some of them may be ancient formless nameless sunken gods masquerading in human suits. We won’t know until after the election. At any rate, Justin Trudeau is a boxer, and that is important in Canadian politics because the way legislation gets passed in the Canadian Parliament is by a combination of competitive eating and gut-punches. It’s a *very* smelly process.

    Elizabeth May
    Elizabeth May

    Most Canadians do not believe in the Green Party of Canada, but the seven scientists left whose research has not been defunded and who have not yet been muzzled by the current party in power have recently proven that there is indeed a Green Party, and that its leader is Elizabeth May! This is the most remarkable scientific discovery in Canada since 2011. Prior to that, Conservative Party of Canada-approved scientists agreed that space is most likely a thing. Elizabeth May was born in the United States, and has worked very hard to be accepted as a real politician, at least in part because nobody believes her party is real (until recently). Also, because she is a woman, fewer than 40% of Canadians are eligible to vote for her. (Canada had one female head of state, but she lost her seat after three months.) Elizabeth May was the first Green Party Member of Parliament, and following the scientific discovery of the existence of the party, there are now two. The Green Party of Canada are mandated to wear something green at all times or be forced to join the NDP.

    300x300This is Fred Penner. He’s not running for public office, but he does run through public spaces and find weird caves in public parks that lead to secret groves where music happens. Fred Penner’s real name includes the name “Cornelius”, which officially makes him the coolest Canadian in the history of the country. His most famous musical composition is “The Cat Came Back” which is Canada’s official national anthem. We only sing “O Canada” (WAY TOO SLOWLY) because people have a tendency to forget when to end the cat came back song, which holds up the beginning of sporting events. This in turn angers broadcasters, who are Canada’s primary funding agents.

    Tom Mulcair [photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld]
    Tom Mulcair [photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld]
    Thomas Mulcair is the leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP). The most important thing you need to know about the NDP is that it is the most frightening thing in the entire country. Even Canadian spiders are afraid of the NDP. This is primarily because the NDP was a party founded in Western Canada, and one of the founding principles of this country is that you can never let the West get any power, because they would take over and force everyone to be farmers. Torontonians quake in terror at the thought of ball caps and dungarees. The NDP gained an awful lot of seats in the 2011 election under the leadership of Jack Layton, who was more charismatic than Tom Mulcair, but not as good in Parliament. If there were any political spectrum left in Canada, the NDP would suppose to be on the left, but the Bloc Quebecois is far more socialist than the NDP. The Green Party is pretty left-wing too.Thomas Mulcair comes from a background in law he would really really really like to be the Pride Multiplier of Canada.
  2. Once you have got to know your candidates, you will need to become familiar with their platforms. I will post another update with a summary of the platforms for each party, but in short, if you choose Stephen Harper, you must hate all other candidates; they are all out to take your money and let terrorists in to Canada. If you choose Gilles Duceppe, you must ignore every other candidate. If you choose Justin Trudeau, you can have a working ambivalence but polite respect for all of the candidates. If you choose Elizabeth May you can pretty much do whatever you want but remember all the other candidates are men. And if you choose Thomas Mulcair, you must mistrust Stephen Harper but understand you’ll most likely be working with one of those other folks so you’ll be nice to them.
  3. Ignore everything you learned about the party platforms, because you need to just pick your favourite candidate for Pickle Minion.
  4. If you do not yet have social media accounts, you will need at least one on effbook and one on Twitter. Make sure you indicate which party and/or politician you support in your social media profile, or else none of this will work.
  5. Spend a lot of time finding people who support any candidate other than the one you have chosen. Read every single thing they have ever put on the internet in the history of time itself. Remember to take pee breaks.
  6. This is the important bit. In order to be truly engaged in Canadian politics, you need to be a complete douche, not to the candidates, but to the people who support them. This will guarantee you a place in queue at Tim Horton’s when the election is over.

  9 comments for “How to get engaged in Canadian politics: an educational resource

  1. molly
    25 August 2015 at 9:17 am

    oh my dear, you are clever! reading your posts is almost the only thing that makes the looooooong summer of our discontent bearable…

    • 25 August 2015 at 10:29 am

      Probably Too Clever By Half or some such thing. Thank you very much!

  2. 25 August 2015 at 10:52 am

    HaHaHaHaHa! Thanks for this laugh-out-loud political statement! I am sharing it to my FB page immediately for all to enjoy.

    • 25 August 2015 at 11:02 am

      Glad you like it, Kathy!

  3. 25 August 2015 at 10:03 pm

    You guys are a democracy, right? Is this the best you can do?

    Just kidding. I know you have a Queen (still part of the Commonwealth).

    Please forgive my abysmal ignorance, almost matched by my abysmal ignorance of American politics. And I don’t care, because I’m trying to get a book finished here, people, and my house is desperately in need of attention, and I haven’t read anything longer than a National Geographic article in the bathroom in ages, and I’m SO tired of editing (finished today! the main parts anyway), and have no skill in politics, even though I’m supposedly the diplomat type on the Myers-Briggs.

    Happy candidate hunting.

    • 26 August 2015 at 6:53 am

      See. We USED to be a democracy. But that is in question now.

  4. Jesse Baron
    27 August 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Please convince me to vote, because I don’t feel like it. As background, I should say that I have been dutiful since turning adult almost 2 decades ago, voting in every federal and provincial election that has been held in that time. That said, I have yet to cast a single vote that has elected a single representative. On one of the more recent election night, I drove through a snow/sleet/slush storm to cast my ballot just under the wire, only to have the landslide result in my riding already announced by the time I returned home to turn on the TV. The same thing will happen in October. It’s not like I’m spraying these votes around to out-there candidates representing fringe parties either; every ballot has been cast for one of the Big 3. It’s just that, ’round here, people vote exactly one way, and it’s not mine

  5. Jesse Baron
    27 August 2015 at 10:41 pm

    I know that MuchMusic would say I just have to get out there and making my voice heard, but I feel that’s an abstract platitude aimed at vapid teenagers. This is first-past-the-post democracy, not Who-ville. And don’t mistake what I’m saying for apathy either. What I’m seeking is something better than voting. Any suggestions? Right now, I’m leaning towards a hunger strike for proportional representation.

    But I’ll probably wind up voting anyway. I like it for the same reasons I like smashing myself in the groin with things: because it will feel great when I stop.

    • 28 August 2015 at 6:53 am

      I’m not convinced that our system of electing leaders is democratic at all. I was talking to my 10-year-old about the Canadian election system and it Made No Sense to him. He thought we voted for our leaders, which of course we don’t. We vote for the party we think will fuck things up the least.

      Many of my righter-wing friends have “warned” me that proportional representation will ensure that Conservative governments will keep being elected. If that’s actually the case, fine. I agree with you; it’s very difficult to get engaged in a system that so enthusiastically ignores the votes of so many Canadians.

      You could of course consider vote pairing (http://www.votepair.ca/ and http://voteswap.ca/Main_Page). And keep being engaged. I know it doesn’t feel like your vote matters, but it does.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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