I hate to interrupt your regularly scheduled cable news nightmare, but for those of you not aware of anything beyond Donald Trump’s bait-&-switch treason trick and the Climate Change Girl, here’s a little Ph-balanced, PG 13 Newsflash: We Canadians will be voting (or not, usually) in our own federal election in a few weeks. Yep, it’s like Campaign 2020 but a year in advance. It’s got a shorter campaign “season” (try 40 days instead of like the day after a president’s inauguration) and of course, it’s usually abysmally dull. So for all who were unaware, don’t feel bad, you’re not missing much, even with new, fresh scandals facing our Prince of Pretend Prime Minister.
There are actually more fundamental differences between our democratic system and America’s, especially our election process, but I’m not here to give that lesson, nor will I ever want to. I need to stick to the task at hand: scandals and similarities between the two countries. And old photos. Once upon a time, they used to be a politician’s nightmare.
Let’s get back to the creamy filling portion of this post, shall we? Another blackface photo. This recent picture, in addition to a different video of undisclosed time and location, was conveniently unearthed just as the Canadian federal election campaign started. Well, convenient for some, but another bothersome buzzkill for the Liberals and their tanless leader. Yes, our once Golden Boy of International Politics has been slowly exposed as another lump of political fool’s gold as he dodges scandal after scandal. And this recent one screamed with such potential for the other candidates!
In reality, the press is persecuting him while the Canadian voters are, for the most part, pretty indifferent. Even benevolent. Is this because we are overwhelmed with 24-hour news cycles spewing stories and scandals featuring politicians everywhere? Are we desensitized to these photos due to Trump and all of his mind-numbing craziness or are we that forgiving of past bad decisions by our prime minister? Are we disappointed in the press (again) for getting distracted by this important but not exactly life-altering information when we voters need and want to hear about policies and plans for all the campaign promises we hear during this election? I think it’s all of the above.
We Canadians have bigger issues to deal with than photos from an “Arabian Nights” school fundraiser from 2001. Should we sweep this under the rug and shut down the conversation on racism and cultural appropriation? No, not at all. Does Canada have a racism issue? Absolutely. Just ask our Indigenous peoples. But we go to the polls on October 21, so attacking the prime minister’s character and harping on candidates’ mistakes, like Green Party’s Elizabeth May and a certain photoshopped image of a reusable cup and straw while missing opportunities to discuss party plans for things such as healthcare and the economy, is not helpful or necessary. Voters need real information about what the candidates actually plan to do when they come into Parliament.
Instead, we have become spectators in our own political mud-slinging, and the Main Event is at risk of more voter frustration that turns into voter apathy. Canadians need all the facts so that we pay attention and actually get out and vote to make a difference. Right now, our choices are the hypocritical “I’m Sorry” prime minister, a very Catholic pro-life Conservative leader who counts Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio as “strong conservative voices,” and a New Democratic Party candidate who leads a party that has never been in power federally. You could say we have our own “Hillary vs. Trump” story here in Canada.
Which begs the question: How different is Canada from the U.S. now? Canadians have always been slightly smug when it comes to anything to do with stuff south of the border. Especially since the days of Trump. We treat our differences with the country as our signs of our superiority; at least in government and healthcare. Oh, and gun control. But lately we seem to be following in the footsteps of our southern neighbours. The political similarities, once subtle and few, are now blinding. We can’t keep clinging to our claim that we are different (Canadian-speak for better) than America. Especially when the resemblances are increasing and the differences that are supposed to make us better are vanishing.
As for the prime minister? Maybe he just really, really wanted the lead role of Aladdin in the school play.