Friday, April 02, 2004

Plan "B" for the American Progressive & Response to Greasey Steve

The latest polls are in and it looks like the Bush attack ads are working like a charm. Kerry's numbers have dipped and he is being tarred and feathered with words like "Tax-and-spend Liberal" or even "Massachusetts Democrat". Since many Americans haven't even begun to follow the Presidential race yet, they may be wooed by Karl Rove's brutal shock-and-awe advertising. They may just vote in Bush one more time.

Although I'm not predicting the impending collapse of the sky above, Bush may very well win. He has the financial resources to afford a massive amount of television ads (he bought $40m worth of them in March) and the titans of corporate America are cheering for his team.

Progressive Americans may be faced with a choice: endure four more years of Bush's barbaric Neocon sabre rattling or pack up the tent and move elsewhere. Although I have always been the type that stays and faces my problems, even I agree that if I were living south of the 49, I would be renting a van and heading north. Lefties and free thinkers alike, if you want to become Canadian, please step this way and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.

If you want to become a Canadian citizen, you can take a test provided by the government to let you know if you are eligible to emigrate via the Skilled Worker Program. I took the test just to get an idea of what it asked for and apparently if you have at least four years of work experience and a high school education, there is a good chance you'll be watching the Montreal Canadiens trounce the Toronto Maple Leafs over a bottle of Kokanee's sometime in the near future.

Speaking both official languages is also a plus although if you have more work experience or more education than high school, you can still dance through the test requirements without being refused.

Bring mittens or gloves because it gets cold up here, unless you're moving to Vancouver in British Columbia. In that case, bring an umbrella and some hiking boots. Don't bother bringing any weapons with you--you won't need them here. If hunting wild animals is your passion, we have plenty of four ought fours and twenty-two's for sale at Canadian Tire (don't worry about the lingo, you'll get used to it).

Being Canadian is a lot like being skinny. As opposed to being a powerhouse that can conquer another country in the time it takes to watch an episode of "C.O.P.S.", Canada must communicate with other nations. We cajole; we try to be diplomatic; we don't preach that we're the best, although we do tend to passive-aggressively think that we've got the Utopia of the North. We believe in the Geneva Convention, growth of international development, and universal human rights.

The great thing about our country is that everyone is OK as long as they bring some beer and don't pick fights with anyone else. I've never been robbed although I have been involved in street scuffles (I blame it on the booze).

Even so, I've observed that in my peer group, we see everyone as equal and don't live in a segregated fashion. Although Canadian politics is as interesting as a three hour film on linoleum production, at least we have several parties that vie constantly for attention by trying to bring in their platforms, instead of a Duopoly with only a fringe candidate every couple of years. I realize that I'm painting with a very wide brush but I think Canada has got some good things going on. Come one, come all, and bring your free minds!

In response to Greasey Steve's comment, I think that you should vote for the NDP because it's what you ought to do. They have the right idea when it comes to good government. The Liberals want to drag us closer to the American way of life, vis a vis participation in a North American missile defense shield and also by focusing on currying American favour (Bush and Chretien were barely on speaking terms so Paul Martin has been in Seduction mode recently). That is why they don't deserve my vote. The Conservatives are even closer to being Canada's Republican Party. They support two-tiered health care, they are against many progressive ideals like the legalization of Marijuana and same sex marriages, and their leader has the charisma of a sea sponge.

What does that leave us with? If you are a Quebecer, you can vote Bloc Quebecois, but we all know what that means. You might be telling Ottawa that you're one of the many Quebecers that want to jettison the Canadian Federation. Even though their leftist-leaning policies and constant defence of Quebec's rights agree with me, I can't vote Bloc either, because I think Canada should live on.

The NDP wants Canada to become a leader in environmental technology, in order to meet Kyoto standards in time for the 2012 deadline and to help to clean up the water, air, and soil of the world. They also want to increase foreign aid, to enhance local businesses and ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes without loopholes. They support legalization of marijuana, although some of the moderate elements of the party only favour decriminalization. Their leader Jack Layton is a fine man and a visionary of sorts--when he talks about the future of Canada, I see a hybrid of traditional Green Party philosophy with a uniquely Canadian perspective.

If we could elect a minority NDP government, or even increase to the levels the NDP enjoyed when Ed Broadbent was the leader, we would see a positive change in the way our country is run. Enough Liberal slashing of social programs, never mind the Quixotic Conservatives and their "God-fearing" Western Fundamentalist base; let's just show the world that we aren't America Jr. We're much weaker than that, and thank heavens. Vote NDP, Steve-O. You'll thank me later!

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