With all of the awful, disappointing events that have occurred in the last two weeks, from the mass shooting in Oregon, to the sexual assault that happened at UVic, to Russia bombing Syria, to the lack of federal support for sciences, it’s hard to not want to abandon life on Earth and opt for a new life on Mars (now that they’ve proven the existence of water, but more on that later). One of the more constant sources of depression for those of us in the newsroom currently is the issue of the upcoming election.
It was apparent to all when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the start of the 42nd federal election over nine weeks ago that Canada was in for a long haul. And now, with less than two weeks to go, a reprieve is welcome — though hardly stands to be satisfying. At the time of writing, the Globe and Mail reports that the Conservative Party has a 74 per cent chance of winning the most seats on Oct. 19, but there’s only an 8 per cent chance of any party winning a majority. Talk about bleak prospects.
Where did it all go wrong? It feels like so long ago that Canada was riding the Orange Wave, ready to surf into a NDP majority (okay, that’s a little optimistic) led by good ol’ Tom Mulcair. But alas, how things have changed.
It’d be easy to pin everything on the niqab debate (a disingenuous red herring if you ask us) that has enveloped the campaign in its xenophobic bile, but while that’s certainly a significant part of it, there’s a number of ways this election has gone off the rails.
First, there’s the candidate debates — and their noted lack of, well, candidates. It’s a common refrain heard all throughout the campaign that Conservatives are avoiding public forums like the plague, with Victoria’s John Rizzuti choosing to knock on doors rather than engage with students. We get it: the youth vote is elusive, but at least put in a little effort to court it.
Even Mulcair got too big for his britches and stopped attending any debate that Prime Minister Harper was not going to attend. Because what’s a fist fight unless you’re fighting the biggest guy in the room? Never mind it’s your duty as an official in public office to inform people about your party’s platform, and one of the best ways to do this is through the leadership debates.
And, you know, nobody’s including Elizabeth May in these things either.
Second, it seems we’ve lost a candidate every week after somebody digs up social media comments made three or four years ago where, whoops, maybe they shouldn’t have said that?! If this isn’t the Niqab-herring Election, then it’s certainly the Facebook Blunder Election.
And finally, there is the looming spectre of splitting the vote, which can only be defeated by the more nebulous strategic voting. If anything was going to help Harper win this election, it was the left eating itself from the inside. At least, that seemed like the reasonable conclusion at the start of the campaign, when the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP were in a dead heat with one another. Now, Justin Trudeau’s seemingly taken a slight lead, proving the “just not ready” naysayers wrong. Maybe.
In the end, there’s 11 days left in this trainwreck of a campaign, and let us tell you: we’re not looking forward to it. But at least we can take solace in the fact that, if the lineups all week are anything to go by, UVic students are voting. Maybe this campaign hasn’t sucked so much after all.
And if it all goes haywire, well, at least we can bail to Mars.