Monday, May 2, 2011

My Most Incredible Journey

Well today's the day. The day I've been waiting for now for almost three years.

One year less than the amount of time I have spent researching Stephen Harper and the neoconservative movement in Canada. 2,984 blog posts. 297 groups joined. Countless petitions signed.

I bought a membership into a political party for the first time in my life. I donated to a political party for the first time in my life. I found my voice to campaign and have attended more rallies in the last year and a half, than I have in my life.

Along the way I have discovered strengths I never knew I had.

And my journey was not travelled alone. Via social media I have made so many friends, with shared values and beliefs, all working tirelessly to save our democracy.

Despite sensational headlines and questionable polls, this election is a very difficult one to call. Like Ed Broadbent in 1988, Jack Layton has taken a gamble, going after a bigger share of progressive seats.

If the gamble pays off and he wins the election, no one will be happier than I. But I remember 1988. Broadbent had a "surge" and was expected to sweep. And while he won a record number of seats for the NDP, it was in a Conservative majority. Our sovereignty was on the line that election, and as a result the most aggressive trade deal in the history of our country was passed.

And NAFTA was devastating for us.

This election our democracy is on the line, so if Layton's gamble doesn't pay off, there will be little comfort being the leader of the opposition in a Harper government. Because the progressive seats he would have taken, only changes the dynamics of of the House, not the mathematical structure.

There will not be enough Liberal and NDP seats to form a coalition without the Bloc, and we all know that the Conservatives will never allow the parties representing 60% of Canadians to govern, if it means taking "separatists" on board.

He will throw the country into crisis, if that's what it takes to keep his job.

I'm going into this election optimistic. I know how badly the majority of Canadians want Harper out. Far more than those who want the NDP in. My only hope is that there are enough seats salvaged to make that happen. If not, the new EU trade deal and border security deal, will mean that we have nothing left to lose.

And it will mean that Stephen Harper is rewarded for being not only in Contempt of Parliament, but in contempt of democracy.

However, I will take comfort in the fact that we gave it everything we had. And when the election is over, and the dust settles, we are still the same people we were before the election.

A people who puts democracy above everything else. And while we may lose this battle, we will live to fight another day.

As a closet political junkie, who spent decades reading every book I could find on Canadian political history, I also remember what happened after the 1988 election. Eventually, the Mulroney government, awash in scandal, was reduced to two seats, losing official party status.

And Ed Broadbent's gamble, resulted in the NDP eventually being reduced to nine.

So good luck Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff. This is not a case of let the best man win, but one of both winning enough seats combined to save us. Because if they don't, the worst man will win, and the Canadian people will lose.

And even if it's a minority for Stephen Harper, it will be years before anyone risks bringing his government down.

So happy election day and thank you everyone.

You have helped to make this an incredible journey.


  1. Emily, what if Jack wins a bare minority and Harper pulls a Gbagbo and refuses to go? That is possible under our Parliamentary Structure - he could go to the GG (an old friend, who he appointed) and say he will obtain the confidence of the house. Do not put anything past him.

  2. Great post Emily. Like you, we all learned so much about Canada and Canadians during these past many months. I'm looking forward to the beginning of a brand new Canada, sunny and bright, full of hope and ambition on Tuesday morning. Thanks for your marvelous contribution!

  3. We can expect anything from Stephen Harper. He will not go down without a fight.

    Thanks guys.

  4. You could put some journalists to shame. Thanks. I have learned a lot. I will continue to share the little I know.

  5. I have a quiet dream that will see the Conservatives out and a spate of criminal indictments chasing them, much as happened to the provincial Conservatives in Saskatchewan in 1991.

    You've put the sort of energy into informing the national choice that I could only dream of. Let's hope it bears fruit!

  6. Emily, I am honoured to have met you during your incredible journey and I feel that I have benefited greatly from your insights and knowledge. Thank you.
    Pam Allard

  7. Hear, hear, Emily! Ditto what they said!
    — K