Skip to main content


unlike most canadians, i have an aversion to the liberal party. partly, it's because, before i defected, i was raised in a family that favoured the conservatives, so i developed an early distaste. mostly, though, it's because i have always disliked organisations that try to be all things to all people. in modeling themselves as the natural governing party, the liberals have shown little political consistency, notwithstanding the fact that they have produced some impressive leaders. one of the only observant comments to come out of the mouth of stephen harper was during the 2004 english language debate, where he told jack layton that he might not agree with him, but he at least knew where layton stood. with the liberals, the answer to the question of where they stand on a particular issue seems to be "where would you like me to stand"?

however, because i've been a political junky since childhood and because closely contested leadership conventions are like the china white of politics, i have been following the current campaign to replace milksop paul martin as the leader and potentially next prime minister. although it's sadly outdated, i like the fact that the liberals chose one last time to go with the old fashioned format that requires delegates to show up. i've always felt that the sort of concentrated passion you witness at this sort of gathering can do nothing but good for a political party. by comparison, the rather sedate affairs one sees around phone-in or electronic votes lacks pizzazz.

in a way, i make a good observer, because i'm unlikely to ever vote liberal, no matter who wins the party leadership. this, in theory, makes me objective. that said, frontrunner michael ignatieff is the personification of nails on a chalkboard to me, so i'm not entirely neutral. i don't think i could handle seeing his face on the news every night.

soon enough- within the hour- we should know what the status is from the first ballot. we already know that joe volpe has dropped out of contention and moved to bob rae. it remains to be seen whether or not that helps the ndp turncoat, since volpe is the one candidate from whom the others might have liked to distance themselves.

the speeches were typical politics for the most part. does anyone else find all of this hand-wringing over the environment just a little ironic, considering the party's record in twelve years in power? ken dryden warmed me a little because, unlike what i have come to expect from the liberals, seemed sincere in his convictions. he won't win, but he seems like a decent person. stephane dion fell well short of what he needed to overtake gerard kennedy, whose speech and video presentation were slick but well-done. bob rae managed to upstage everyone by speaking "off the cuff"- 25 minutes without notes or a podium, going for the down-home, straight-talking appeal. while he didn't speak enough french and almost came off the rails at one exceedingly long pause, the gimmick was very effective, and became the performance to which all the others were compared. ignatieff's video presentation was repetitive and felt at times like it was never going to end. while almost painfully stiff at first, he did gradually hit his rhythm and delivered a polished, typical front-runner speech, designed, like the liberals, to offend no one and say nothing.

rumour has it that we are going to have another election in the spring, because, having had te same government for twelve years, we now feel the need to change every sixteen months. so whoever wins this weekend is not going to have a lot of time to get comfortable. alternately, whoever wins is not going to have a lot of time to gets his bearings before having to hit the election trail. good luck buddy, you're going to need it.

reluctantly, i have to admit that, seen at their best moment (and the speeches likely do show their best moments), the candidate field is impressive. the talk was articulate, at times inspirational. but this is the liberals. they've been in power for a huge majority of canada's history. they've had the time to lead us to the brave new world. it's all well and good to talk about inclusion, the environment, the greratness of canada and our role in the world, but when you've held the reins of power for as long as these guys have, someone needs to stand up and say "that's great, but what the hell were you doing when you had the opportunity to work on a lot of these things?" i'm not denying that the party has accomplished some important things (sometimes borrowed from their competitors). but seriously, name one thing in the chretien years that made you feel proud to be canadian. something that the government did.

fact is, these guys always sound great when they're making their sales pitch, but they're a little less inspiring once you've bought in. whatever happens tonight and tomorrow, caveat emptor.


Interesting victory by Dion, which no one had predicted. He was my pet peeve in the Chretien government, the author of the hated Law of Referendum Clarity... anyhoo, he still made a pretty good environment minister.
We'll have to wait and see how it all plays out. Not that I want another election (not that I care) but I felt a lot safer (and saner) with the Grits around, instead of the "Tories".
You cant tell me that you want to keep those yahoos in power. And no, I didn't vote for them. If they could just pull through electoral reform, of proportionate representation, both the NDP and the Greens would benefit.
flora_mundi said…
well, since none of the party heavyweights or their corporate puppetmasters were backing him, it's nice to see a leader who doesn't start off beholden to others (except gerard kennedy).

and yeah, i think it's high time someone put the conservatives out of our misery. it would be nice to have acutal options, but the priority now is just to remove the barbarians from the kingdom.

as long as you're here, why not read more?


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…