It’s a fact; Canadians like to talk American politics, avidly catching up on the latest news and debates. Yet when it comes to our own government, we prefer to pretend we know what we’re talking about and leave it at that.
Maybe it’s because south of the border elections are more entertaining. Everyday we’re bombarded with scandal after scandal, and there’s no denying we love it. The truth is that we might like to view ourselves as modern, evolved, understanding people, but really we’re no different from the Romans, who enjoyed such activities as crucifixion and watching people being eaten by lions. In the last year alone, the American political coliseum has offered up such palpitating spectacles as New York governor Eliot Spitzer indulging in high-priced prostitution, presidential hopeful John Edwards cheating on his cancer-stricken wife and Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin’s pregnant teenage daughter.
Meanwhile, the best we can offer is the platonic yet costly sponsorship scandal of 2004, Belinda Stronach simultaneously leaving her boyfriend and the Conservatives in 2005, and André Boisclair’s “slanted eye” comment last year. This year’s most thrilling story was foreign minister Maxime Bernier leaving classified documents at his ex-girlfriend’s house, while she is known to have ties to organized crime. Try to make a movie out of that. To put it in other words, United States politics are the entertainment Olympics of the world, and we’re a figure skating competition sponsored by strawberry jam.
American politics are so engrossing that everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock can reasonably debate whether Palin is a good vice-presidential candidate, yet no one really cares about Harper’s or Dion’s past, present or future life. We barely know why we’re voting for them. We know one will probably just keep doing what he’s doing right now and we know about the other’s green plan. And that’s about it. It’s a fair guess that not even one in 10 Canadians can go any further than that basic information. And Harper knows it – riding off the American election wave buzz is one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
Canadians are also interested in American politics because we know we’ll be directly influenced by whoever gets elected down there. American decisions affect us as much as they affect well, Americans, only they get a say in it. At our best we observe from afar, at our worst we follow blindly – all the way to Afghanistan, past the Kyoto protocol and into the Maher Arar affair.
Maybe we should all take a couple of steps back from our flashing CNN television screens and turn towards what really should matter to us as an independent country. Maybe then we’d stop voting for puppets whose only dream is to become real boys. The truth is that we can’t let the issues that really matter to us pass us by just because our leaders lack charisma, or for the People crowd, aren’t involved in crazy sex scandals.
We should all get a grip, and start considering ourselves as responsible citizens of a prosperous country, instead of second-rate observers. If we could just tear our eyes away from the blood bath beneath us and concentrate on what we want and can provide for ourselves, then Canada would be a better, and a far more interesting, place.
energy infrastructure.
into a massive propaganda victory which would grant legitimacy to their illegal war. As such, the West has only one course of action; it must demonstrate its moral convictions and shame Putin by boycotting the 2014 games.

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