Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 01.20.06
Stanstead, Quebec


Ignoramus's guide to Canada's election 2006

With the federal vote next Monday, I feel like I have to write an exam I haven't studied for, and now it's the night before and I have to pull an all-nighter, and every time I doze off I dream that I show up for the exam without a pen and in my underwear.

I really don't want to vote in my underwear.

To try to piece together just who these people are and why they are trying to run my country, I've created this study-guide. I hope you'll find it useful as well. Please correct me if I've made any errors.

First some background:

Prime Minister Paul Martin was elected to a minority government in June 2004 and quickly demonstrated prudent financial management by telling his party, "Don't throw away those election placards; we may need them again in eighteen months."

During this brief period, Martin's Liberal government weathered several crises, including the sponsorship scandal, which can be summed up as follows: tax dollars went into the pockets of ad agency directors instead of being spent where they should have been spent - on bumper stickers that said "Canada Is Neat!"

Also, there was something involving golf balls and the preserved head of Lester B. Pearson but it's all a bit of a blur.

Through his inquiry, Justice John Gomery came to the conclusion that Liberals are bad, which merely put them on par with the Conservatives and Bloc Québ&ecuge;cois.

As for the NDP, the big question is, "What's with the moustache, Jack?"

And now to the campaign:

  • Paul Martin has promised to cut taxes, which is something the Conservatives once promised to do but no longer think is a good idea.

  • Conservative leader Stephen Harper has promised to reduce the GST, which the Liberals once promised to eliminate entirely but now find fiscally necessary.

  • The NDP has promised to be relevant... no, really.

  • The Bloc Québécois has promised to continue to be indignant, which is likely the only promise to be kept in this campaign.
Campaign controversies included a comment from a Liberal mouthpiece that parents would spend the proposed Conservative child-care tax credit on popcorn and beer. Many were outraged by the comment, especially the NDP leader who was upset that the Liberals had undermined the announcement of his party's own Beer and Popcorn Tax Credit.

The highlight of the leaders' debates was when, in the French debate, Stephen Harper mistranslated his statement "I believe in a prosperous Canada" as "I believe in a grapefruit Canada."

Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe's tactic early on was to declare that voting Liberal is bad for Quebec. With the Conservatives now surging in the polls, he has subtly altered his approach by declaring that voting Conservative is bad for Quebec. Indignantly.

While the Conservatives have been attacking the Liberals' integrity, the Liberals have been focusing on the Conservatives' values. Recent attack adds have stated that a Conservative government would put armed troops in our cities, create labour camps for people who "just look funny," reintroduce capital punishment for the crime of same-sex marriage, make everyone wear smiley-face pins, and outlaw sandals.

In turn, the Conservatives have responded with ads that say Paul Martin is a big baby.

As the election nears, the two main parties are playing a game of "My Surplus is Bigger Than Your Surplus." And everyone continues to make promises.

  • The Conservatives promise to meet our Kyoto targets by constructing a giant pollution-sucking vacuum in the Rockies.
  • The Liberals promise to create a special Hero's Fund for anyone who manages to sit through the Gemini Awards.
  • The NDP promise to provide free sunblock for migrant peach pickers in southern Ontario.
  • And the Bloc promise that a vote for them is not a vote for separation but a vote for sovereignty.
There. I think that's about it. Now where's my underwear?