We’ve been hearing (and writing) a lot about the recent Quebec provincial elections. Pundits claimed that just about everything was at stake: religious minorities might lose their right to wear what they want, Canada might lose Quebec, and Pauline Marois might lose any shred of integrity she has left. But take a glance at our largest city and you’ll see that we risk losing much more in the upcoming Toronto mayoral election: Rob Ford, the largest (figuratively and literally) package of concentrated comic relief Canada has ever spawned.
In 2010, Rob Ford’s major selling point was that he was a conservative. In 2014, the main selling point of everyone but Rob Ford is that they are sane. A wise man once said that the times, they are a’changin’, but I don’t think he had this in mind.
Olivia Chow has emerged as a favorite among left-leaning voters. And why wouldn’t she be? A former municipal servant, widow of Jack Layton himself, and a devoted politician in her own right. However, the silliness of the Toronto political atmosphere has rubbed of on Ms. Chow, who displayed a near-Fordian (yes, I’m coining that term) lack of judgement by taking an interview on Sun News from her own campaign manager. I don’t get it, has some sort of brain-eating pathogen infested everyone vying for the Toronto mayoral seat? That would certainly explain the candidacy of Don Andrews, canadian Neo-Nazi and participant in the weirdest attempted coup in North America.
All this to say: move over, Quebec. You’re not the only crazy electoral battlefield out there.
Quebec and Toronto may be rivals for political craziness, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t trade crazy election tactics once in a while. Olivia Chow, of all people, opted for Parti Quebecois-style identity politics. Seeing the success that such tactics brought to Pauline Marois’ party (holy cow, a negative-24 seat increase!), Chow dropped a bombshell, revealing that she is, in fact, not male OR white. This was in response to an online question that asked her how she differed from ousted Mayor David Miller, former Toronto mayor and fellow progressive.
There is one thing Chow overlooked when taking a bold step out of the ethnicity-and-gender closet. By admitting to not being caucasian, she has effectively galvanized the white supremacist vote around Don Andrews. With such a boost, Andrews may repeat his 1974 election results, where he finished second with 12% of the popular vote! Oh wait, that’s 0.12%. Darn decimals.
Chow doesn’t have to pull rabbits out of hats to win this election. All she has to do is wait around for Rob Ford to do something stupid, and film it if possible. Ford himself made a game-changing move just a day before Chow’s ethnically-confused interview by recruiting not one, but two star candidates to his team. Of course the term “star candidate” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For Rob Ford, it was Canadian Olympian Ben Johnson, known best as the guy who lost a gold medal for being on drugs, and actor Sam Tarasco, known best as – wait for it – the guy who lost his role in Trailer Park Boys for being on drugs. Rob Ford, ladies and gentlemen. Elect him, and you can be sure that City Council will function normally sometimes, and be a giant party all the time.
Let’s hope Chow and Ford continue to one-up each other’s insanity. It’s making for quite the spectacle.
Some may lament the lack of sophistication in Canadian politics. To those people I say two things.
First, take a look at this:
Now ask yourselves, and be honest: do you really want all this fun gone? Our duty as Canadians is to prove the rest of the world wrong about the boredom of our politics. We can be just as crazy as everyone else, and no one can take that away from us!
With a wacky Quebec election in the books and a star-studded, Trudeaumania-infused federal election coming up in the distant future, the end of Canadian political hilarity is nowhere in sight.
When it comes to politics, all that matters is the silliness, anyway.