#43 the Seinfeld Election – The Election about nothing

kelly harris

So I walked into Canadian Tire after being a panellist on the John Oakley Show in Toronto, Monday and found myself looking at an assortment of canoes and kayaks on sale for season’s end.

One particular blue kayak caught my eye and the price tag only $399. I turned to my friend and said, “ya know, if I buy that I’ll still have $1,600 left for other camping gear.”

Seriously, I’m not making a joke. I have no need for a kayak, I live in a 500 square-foot condo and I actually have great camping gear – I grew up in Calgary after all. Still, here I am standing in a Canadian Tire looking at canoes and kayaks because Justin Trudeau is going to give me two grand to camp.

So in an election that has concrete issues taking a backseat to the ridiculous, at least Mr. Trudeau has accomplished something. He’s got me thinking about camping. Still not voting for him, but I am thinking of packing my car and hitting Turkey Point next summer.

We are less than three weeks away from electing Canada’s next government and I still don’t know what this election is about. I have taken to calling it the Seinfeld election – because number 43 has been about nothing.

We were all waiting to hear a debate on the issue that has the whole world in a tizzy – climate change. But instead of debating the ineffectiveness of Mr. Trudeau’s carbon tax. Or whether Andrew Sheer’s Conservatives can strike a balance between cleaning up the environment and creating jobs; what are we talking about? Airplanes.

Seriously, and if you think about why carbon taxes don’t work think about Mr. Trudeau’s answer to why he has two campaign planes. We bought carbon offsets.

Pretty sure the carbon emissions still come out of the plane – especially a 40 year old gas-guzzler that pumps pollution out into the atmosphere at a staggering 975 gallons of fuel per hour. By comparison the NDP plane, by no means the jet version of a Prius, burns 795 gallons. That is the middle of the pack as an example.

So here we are less than three weeks away from the vote and instead of having a quantitative discussion on environmental policy – both Conservative and Liberal plans need to be reviewed – we have the climate heroes basically saying, “Ya it’s a Hummer and it goes through more gas in an hour than a small village, but I planted a tree.”

Oh and the Green and NDP plans seem to be competing for how many jobs they’ll kill, but the planet will be better cause we’ll all live in yurts and digging up roots for supper.

As absurd as that story is, how about immigration, racism and Canada’s place in the world? Can we talk about those policies? Nope. Why? You guessed it, Black Face.

It is 2019 and we actually have people debating whether black face is bigoted. On Dec. 8, 1975 everybody’s favourite television racist Archie Bunker debuted a Black Face episode. Of course we all know that All in the Family wasn’t about promoting racism, it was actually a very smart show about exposing social issues not openly talked about in middle-white North America in the 1970s. Like Black Face.

Mr. Trudeau was turning four-years-old when that episode aired. Not sure his father would have let little Justin watch the show so he can be forgiven when 25 years later he was still painting his face.

So, no we can’t talk about Quebec’s Bill 21, which many consider state-sponsored racism, because we are debating Black Face and whether or not it’s bigoted. And what’s the age of black face consent?

This isn’t to say the Conservative’s are doing any better. It reminds me of Ontario elections from 2003 up until 2018 when you look at all the things the Liberal government had gotten wrong and conservatives wondered; “how are we losing to these guys?”

More often than not it’s because the electorate doesn’t believe you could do any better. Actually, and the reaction to everything Premier Doug Ford does is proof of this, people believe nothing will change.

It is an overall malaise that has taken the Canadian electorate. Beaten down by over government. We are left with a feeling of helplessness against issues like climate catastrophe, massive debt, a government that can’t leave any part of our lives alone, and constant bickering and blame games.

Cancel culture seems to be the name of the game on too many issues. Yes we have two planes and we’re polluting the atmosphere three times more than our opponents, but at least we planted a tree or two. Yes it was racist, but or opponent said something 15 years ago that was homophobic.

Not to say that it works either way. It is all wrong. But the real issue in my mind at least is we need to turn down the rhetoric and start talking about things Canadians actually care about. For example, and I have to credit one of my co-panellists Monday for this one, have we heard a single word about health care in this election?

So maybe, as this election goes we all need to pump the brakes and start again. Because the rhetoric has to stop and Canadians – no matter how they vote – deserve better.

Or as Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien said at the 1990 Liberal Leadership Convention in Calgary, “it’s to shut the stove and fire the cook.”

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