Obviously the blogging between trips didn’t work out–it has been one year since the last post. “Normal” life, whatever that is–when we’re not traveling, I guess–just has not seemed interesting enough to write about. And for a few reasons, we didn’t get away this winter. So that accounts for the absence of blog posts between now and this time last year.
Not that there haven’t been some interesting developments. The last post was just before the election here in Canada. From my perspective, things did not go well. The Conservatives won a majority–by a slim margin, but it was enough. The Liberals were cut off at the knees and didn’t even finish in second place. That honor, which, in a parliamentary system, bestows the status of Official Opposition Party, went to the New Democratic Party (NDP), led by the charismatic Jack Layton. The NDP vaulted into second place partly by beating Liberals, but mostly at the expense of the Parti Quebecois in Quebec, who went from 47 seats in Parliament to 4. Evidently separatism took a back seat to other priorities.
So here is the interesting part: Michael Ignatieff, the Liberal candidate, resigned in disgrace, leaving that party without a leader. And the popular NDP leader Jack Layton died, which left that party scrambling for leadership. With the opposition parties in disarray the conservative Harper Government (which, as you may remember is now the official name of what used to be called the “Canadian Government”) forged ahead with its agenda, which had been suppressed during the years of Conservative minority.
Then, just when it looked like the road to hell was a smooth highway paved with the hides of opponents of the Harper Government, reports started leaking out of what appeared to be a Conservative campaign of robo-calls and disinformation during the election designed to affect the outcome. Whether or not it did remains to be seen, but a surprising number of people seem to be upset about this (probably a few who wish they had voted in the last election.)
So we’ll see where that goes, if anywhere. The Canadian system, and the Canadian people, seem ill-equipped to deal with skullduggery and bad intentions. In the US this caliber of scandal would barely rate a raised eyebrow, and I’m sure the Harper Government would like Canadians to believe, along with their southern cousins, that this is simply modern political practice. Canadians have been rightly proud of the general level of civility in this country, but they are in danger of loosing their bragging rights. This government seems to be intentionally emulating the worst in American politics. I would be surprised if there are not some bush-league political operatives up here from the south.
Well, there is probably a very small, perhaps nonexistent, subset of people who have any interest at all in reading about Canadian politics on my blog–the overlap of those who care about the subject, who don’t already know all they want to, and who read my blog. If all goes according to plan, this time next year I’ll be back to travel writing. If there is anything worth writing about between now and then I’ll post something. But no promises.