Two days before the federal election, the world was in a state of disbelief. Few could have imagined the global political and financial storm that has unfolded with a vengeance in the last few weeks.
Pundits and pollsters spent the early days of the campaign predicting the size of the Conservative majority. Then, the prospect of a Tory loss and the emergence of Stéphane Dion as prime minister brought some drama, urgency, and excitement (not to mention outright horror) to the election, much like the Sarah Palin phenom in the States.
Of course, the election is over and our leadership remains essentially unchanged, but I for one would have been horrified to go to bed that night with the Liberals and Stéphane Dion at the helm.
No one person on the planet could have prevented the economic ?correction? that is now occurring, so why on God’s green earth should Stephen Harper have been painted as the fall guy? The International Monetary Fund predicts Canada will lead all G8 countries in economic growth next year. Will that growth be less than we’ve experienced until now? Without a doubt.
Yet the World Economic Forum identifies Canada as having the strongest banking system in the world, a full 39 positions above the US. To an ordinary gal like me that means that, relatively speaking, we are doing better than others. Is everything perfect? Hell no. Could it have become far, far worse with someone else running the place? Hell yes.
So tell me, are we well positioned to ride out the coming hell? Will all of us feel the pain? Yes. Will some families be hurt more than others? Undoubtedly. But could quivering Dion or loudmouth Layton have prevented that? No.
Leading up to the election, I watched the televised English debate. I regularly read two newspapers and follow political columnists. I became sick to death of Layton’s cracks about Harper’s sweater. I grew tired of his single-minded, simple-minded bashing of big corporations and automaton-like answers to all questions. As some pundit pointed out, neither Layton nor Dion has ever run so much as a lemonade stand, so how on earth could they have run a country?
Dion has fumbled and stumbled. Isn’t it something that for the first three-quarters of the campaign Dion looked persona non grata . . . where were the likes of Chrétien, Martin, Rae, Ignatieff? Were they afraid of being seen aligned with a lame duck? Can a guy who couldn’t or wouldn’t understand a reporter’s question not once but three times have been able to represent us well on the national or international stage?
God help us.
In every election, we need Canadians to get off the couch, switch from So You Think You Can Dance to the news, read a newspaper or three, talk to each other, volunteer on a campaign, give a damn. Just like the response to the economic trouble, use your head and don’t panic. don’t swallow the inflammatory language (crisis, meltdown, plummeting, worst since the Depression, recession, depression . . .) and take a deep breath. There’s no telling what choices future campaigns will bring, but the last thing we need is a Chicken Little prime minister running around saying the sky is falling, from where I sit.