Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Past Deadline: Armchair Express™ All Gassed Up

(Yeesh...I am waaaaaay behind in posting these!)

I know, I know. The federal election call was last week, so I am way overdue – past deadline, even – in terms of getting ye olde Armchair Express™ shined up and rolling. (Caution: overuse of trademark symbol ahead.)

Since last week’s column was a gripping soliloquy about my crazy hair, I think the giant photo on the side of my bus should feature me wearing a bird’s nest on my head.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I may be talking silly, but I am a bit of a political junkie. You won’t hear me saying, “I’m sick of the election rhetoric already!” Nevertheless I needed a good week to think about what I could say in this space that wouldn’t count as rhetoric.

I’m still thinking.

It’s not working.

There are, though, a few things worth dragging out. I mean barfing up. Um, whatever.
One of my favourites – I joyfully roll my eyes every time I hear it – is the use of the term Reckless Coalition™. I think it would be a good name for a band.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper thinks such a thing would be The End of the World™. At least that is what he would like us to believe. Now, I happen to know there are a good many people out there who have travelled outside of this country (more than just Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff) or who are at least vaguely aware of things that happen elsewhere (other than royal weddings or Charlie Sheen’s latest catch phrase). I have heard that in some other countries there are such things as coalitions, and they aren’t The End of the World™.

In fact, some people think a coalition here in Canada might simply be People Working Together So We Don’t Have to Look at Stephen Harper and the Conservatives So Much™. With this in mind, I had a good hearty chortle the other night when, on the late news, I heard that a recent poll indicated more than half of Canadians surveyed would be in favour of a coalition. I’m not sure if they were asked about it being “reckless” or not. One would assume not.

Now, some dead politicians used to contend polls are for dogs, while other living ones say the only poll that counts is the one on election day. But that doesn’t seem to stop the parties from paying for polls.

It’s always fun to hear how the numbers change when the same questions are asked a different way.

Speaking of which, communication is a pretty hot topic this time around with the whole matter of who is allowed to speak and when and to whom and where and so on. Don’t you find Mr. Harper’s laid back, relaxed and spontaneous style of campaigning to be completely refreshing?

Oh – sorry – I meant to say “rigid” and “orchestrated.”

Suits him, though. The part where he is sticking the media behind a fence half a mile away from him (I’m exaggerating a little, but not much) and limiting them to five questions a day is so...um...I have no idea. Bizarre? Restrictive? Control-freakish? Un-Canadian?

Sorry – was that rude?

I wonder what prompted our uber-orchestrated prime minister to challenge Mr. Ignatieff to a one-on-one debate? Clearly he lost his head, since he quickly backed away when Mr. Ignatieff agreed.

As interesting as that would be, I’d still prefer to hear from everyone, including Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who was included in the leaders’ debate last time but not this time. It’s interesting considering the Greens field candidates in most ridings in Canada, while the Bloc Quebecois, who are included in the debate, are only in Quebec.

Naturally this begs the questions: If the Greens were to win seats in this election, would they be invited to form part of a Reckless Coalition™ if one were to form? More importantly, would said Reckless Coalition™ produce a hit single? And who would play the drums?

By the way, since déjà vu seems to be a theme for this election, I was amused when I looked back to see how I started my last Armchair Express™ column in 2008: “With the high price of gas and all, it’s a darned good thing my armchair runs on hot air.”

Yep. Some things never change.

Published in The Perth Courier, April 7/11.

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