A leader like Barack Obama, that is. The moment Mr. Obama was projected to be the winner of the presidential race, I had a chill of excitement and joy go down my spine. And I got to explain it to my daughter sitting right next to me what it meant. I want that feeling too, here in Canada.
Poll after poll showed that Canadians—more than 75%—would have voted for Obama. So why the hell couldn’t we have pulled it together for our own country, and kept that Conservative Harper out of power last month? Granted, we didn’t then—and still don’t yet—have as charismatic or historically-significant politician as Obama. But for heaven’s sake, there are certain things that we could do to change things so that we don’t get another Conservative government when it was clear that the majority of Canadians voted for anyone other than the Conservatives. For starters—and I really do think that this is the key—we need to get down to a two-party system like they have in the States. Seriously, no more of the hangers-on and the frivolous wannabes—the ones who have no chance of forming a majority government (and unfortunately, that means you, Mr. Layton and fellow Dippers!). I think that the Liberals can unite enough leftists to show that we all essentially want the same things, and those are the things that the Conservatives don’t want.
Second, we need to find a great leader. I know that many voters couldn’t bring themselves to vote Liberal this time around because of how they perceived Stéphane Dion, as unfair as that may have been. But that’s how some people roll—like the party, but hate the leader, so can’t vote that way. So we need for the Libs someone who can rally and inspire Canadians the way Obama did. All the better if he or she can be historically-significant at the same time, as in Canada’s first black, female or ethnic PM. (Yeah, on this side of the border, we too are tired of white men leading us. And the short-lived accidental blip in history that was Kim Campbell doesn’t count in my history books as PM.)
I really hope that we get it right next time. ‘Cause frankly, with the Democrats and Mr. Obama in the White House, but our Harper and his Conservatives in Parliament, something seems all mixed up here about how I think the world sees Canada. As happy and proud as I am for the Americans, I’m embarrassed for us as Canadians. I know that we can do better, and vote to reflect the way we really live as Canadians—as Liberals, not as Conservatives. I know that we can have a better leader than Harper.
Yes, we can.