I told meself I'd include pictures with my next knitting post, and I haven't got 'round to taking them yet. R:tAG and I have been having very early nights these past few evenings; we've both been feeling tired and run-down.

So, a Conservative minority government. Prime Minister Harper. I found out first through blogs; the Canadian election got practically no coverage here (though I seemed to remember something about Frank McKenna on NPR this morning but I was 3/4 asleep. I checked on Yahoo just now, though, and it looks like I wasn't imagining things.) No surprise, though I desperately, desperately hope that this was a reaction against the Liberal scandals and their long term in office rather than an endorsement of all the Conservatives' policies (though to be fair, it looks like the Conservatives are attracting a wider range of opinion)

I was so proud to be from a country that actually practiced all the ideals that Americans are always going on about... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness regardless of personal characteristics, separation of church and state, concern for the environment, tolerance and respect for all, etc. The same-sex marriage bill in particular made me want to run out into the streets singing "Oh, Canada." I've never had anyone be able to explain to me what is wrong about two people who love each other wanting legal recognition of their relationship. Any discussion inevitably ends with invoking the Bible (not on my part) which as far as I'm concerned in that debate has as much relevance as invoking Betty Crocker*. You disapprove of gay marriage? Don't marry a gay person. But how will two gay people marrying each other affect you in any way?**

Whoof. Anyway. In summary, stay good, Canada! I want to come back to a country that's just as great a place to live as when I left!

* OK, this is threatening to turn into a multipage rant, but I have to mention one of the odder arguments I heard; that allowing same-sex marriage is impossible because the government can't redefine marriage. Firstly, who exactly does get to define marriage? Secondly, the government has redefined all sorts of words, most in relatively recent history. Voter. Property owner. Legal drinker. In fact, the gummint and the courts are redefining the word "legal" in many ways, all the time, and have already redefined "marriage" by legislating an automatic common-law period in the 1970s. Where were all the marriage-definition-preservers then?

** A good article is here. I especially liked the sentence "It took more than 50 years of pitched battles before states fully recognized one another's divorces; it may well take that long before Boston marriages are good throughout the nation." It put this into a bit of historical perspective and reminded me that things really have improved over quite a stunningly short period of time.


  1. cenobyte said...

    I *can* invoke the Bible, but why *would* I? Which is to say, anyone *can* invoke whatever the hell they want to support/refute arguments, but that doesn't mean it's relevant.

    I'm with 'ya, missy. I don't think it matters how your plumbing works, as long as you have running water. Or, ah, okay, screw that metaphor. It is, I think, wrong, in many, many ways to try to use religion (whatever your religion may be) to try to support your political arguments.

    There is a reason we have tried (and are continuing to try) to separate Church and State.

    If two folks want to get married to each other, it doesn't matter if there are two innies or two outies or one of each. If you want the State to recognise your union ("oh, hello union! I'm the State! Don't I know you from that fabulous shindig you put on?"), there should be nothing that stands in your way.

    Except possibly a few too many shared alleles, but that's another argument.

    Yay, Canada!

    Yay, Canadian knitting team!

    Yay, Canadian hockey team!

    er...yay TUO!  

  2. Paul said...

    But the Good Book provides so many entertainment possibilities. I used to quite enjoy it when the God Botherers came by to impress me with their view of reality. But the marriage thing wasn't the issue then that it is now, unfortunately. Unlike Alison (remember her? Edmonton?) I couldn't just let my towel fall off, but I liked making them squirm with "Who was Cain's wife?" "Show me your shirt label." and "Any 3-day leftovers in the fridge?"  

  3. carla said...

    I agree that the Bible has many uses. Recently some friends and I dug out Exodus, found the ten commandments, and had a showing of hands for who broke which commandment. Very entertaining. That article is really interesting, by the way. I have native and gay/lesbian friends who have expressed a sense of fear over what will happen in the coming months. I try to make them feel better by stressing that it is only a MINORITY government, but I do not know if that has been as comforting as I would like.  

  4. Anonymous said...

    With regards to politics...I do think it's pretty important to remember that Harper being in office is less of a problem on, frex, the same-sex marriage front than the people who voted for him, in whole or in part, because of that reason. Heh, especially because it's only a minority.

    If the population as a whole is behind same-sex marriage, for instance, the most backwards government in the world can only slow down change, they can't stop it - sooner or later, it'll happen. But the most progressive government in the world can't really do all that much to help if the population is against it.

    Certainly, elected officials help shape our perceptions. But I think the places they can do the most damage(or good) are in areas like the economy or foreign affairs - these are places where policies can have a real, immediate, and often unexpected impact, and making right decisions about it right here and now really matter a big great deal. Social policies, on the other hand...well, if you make bad decisions, they just won't stick. Outrage on the part of the population can eventually roll back the worst injustices, and future governments can even get into office on a platform of "We'll repeal that unpopular law!" Of course, it doesn't mean that there might now be long term damage and suffering in the meantime, but it contrasts with our PM, frex, starting a war with Ugooglystan - a war isn't something the next government can just repeal, after all. ;)

    Anyway, long-winded point was - worrying too much about Harper on social issues might be missing the target. The fact that people support him on some of those issues is the real problem. If the Conservatives try to roll back the same-sex marriage bill, for instance - that's the /symptom/ of a wider problem, but not the actual root cause itself. And energy is usually better off attacking the causes. Of course, sometimes symptoms will make the root causes worse, or make the illness harder to treat, so it's not like we should neglect what gets legistlated, either.

    There was a point in there somewhere. If someone else feels energetic enough to figure out what it is, feel free.


    (My personal opinion on what would be law if we had an ideal world? So many folks complain about redefining the term marriage. Fine, leave marriage alone. Hell, don't define it at all! Do a search/replace on all the laws and replace "Marriage", with "Civil Union". And then make it so that a civil union is a union between any two people. Then you and yours can define marriage however the hell you want. But under the law a Civil Union is a Civil Union, whether /you/ choose to call it a marriage or a garbiggleflatzer.

    That's my simple-minded and uninformed opinion.)  

  5. Amy said...

    Man, you talk a lot. :)

    A good point about potentially damaging gummint policies, but I think "social" issues are not risk-free. War might be sexy and get all the headlines, but cutting back family allowance can kill people too (and, incidentally, I think a government *can* repeal a war. Wasn't that a plank in the Vietnam-era elections?). And I don't see many economic decisions as having immediate impact *except* as how they are social issues.

    And I'd like to point out that the gummint/legislature can shape public opinion. Universal sufferage and desegregation in the U.S. are things off the top of my head that (IIRC) probably wouldn't have passed a popular referendum at the time. Now, less than a lifetime later, you won't find many people against them.

    I'll stop now or I'll be just as bad as you. :)  

  6. Anonymous said...

    All very true, and not much I can argue with. I still think that for a lot of social issues, energy is often better directed towards changing the opinions of the supporters of the government, instead of focusing just on the government itself. But I suppose that's a fairly obvious point.



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