"There is no other country in the world where intellectuals suffer from such low repute as in Canada." - Hilda Neatby, 1956Within days of Stéphane Dion being chosen as Liberal leader, "not a leader" attack ads began appearing on national television. The Conservatives must have selected the taglines for all possible victors in advance, and this just happened to be Dion's.
And it was not based on his lack of leadership skills, which were already tested in his writing of the Clarity Act and passing of the Kyoto Protocol. They knew they could capitalize on his difficulty with the English language, and they rode that, along with the misconception that the revenue neutral carbon tax, was an actual tax; to election victory.
When the ads first appeared, the media, amongst themselves, believed they would never work. And when they did, there is now an acceptance, and even an expectation, of mind numbing character assassinations, as part of normal political debate.
For two and half years, Michael Ignatieff endured "just visiting" propaganda in print ads, many paid for by taxpayers, and on television. A baseball fan, he once stated that he couldn't even enjoy a game on TV, because constantly his image would be moving across the screen, with his now infamous tagline.
And a man who has been called one of the world's foremost thinkers, was reduced to the level of a self-serving opportunist, while we ignored the fact that Stephen Harper has done more to gain and hold onto power, than anyone in the history of the country.
In this last election, Stephen Harper ran one of the most undemocratic campaigns on record. He limited questions and severely limited access, and yet media outlets threw him their support.
He stayed on message, they claim. Of course he did. If anyone tried to take him off message they were either shouted down, thrown out and even arrested.
And while journalists travelling with Ignatieff, constantly tweeted that the Liberal leader was a powerful speaker, and worked without notes, while Harper used a teleprompter, they still declared Harper the victor, long before we went to the polls.
And again Canadians tuned out. We may have set a new record for low voter turnout, possibly less than 50%. And the Conservatives now have a majority, based on the desires of less than 25% of eligible voters.
Our democracy is in shambles and will now only get worse. The most autocratic leader in the history of our country, now controls Parliament and the Senate, and before his four years are up, the Supreme Court.
Where will Canadians go for justice? The media? The Fourth Estate, who have traded away their integrity when they became kingmakers to a man so many Canadians not only detest, but fear.
Pollsters couldn't have been more wrong this election. And yet their predictions with sensational headlines, determined how we voted, or whether we voted at all.
Time to question whether we have polling at all now, when it appears that they just make stuff up.
Our system is broken. Based on the proportionately of the ballots cast, the makeup of Parliament, would have been: Conservatives 122, NDP 95, Liberals 58, Bloc 19 and Green 14.
A better and fairer representation. But what do we have instead?
I believe that Michael Ignatieff would have made an excellent prime minister, but we'll never know. Because it would appear that we have succumbed to something very ugly in our political system, exported from the United States, and refined by the Conservative Party of Canada.
So maybe from here on in, we will only get what we deserve.