Spring in Quebec often means two things: maple syrup cabanes and quickly called elections. Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you choose to stand, there is never really a dull moment in La Belle Province.
Newspapers, polls, debates … we’ve got it all. And in Quebec, we have it in both official languages (well, ok, mostly in French, but occasionally in English too…). We even have bilingual political gaffes, like one party leader who told his wife to keep her comments to herself, on camera; while another managed to keep the fact that her party kinda sorta managed to throw millions of dollars towards her husband’s business deals by flinging accusations at other parties for doing more or less the same thing.
I believe that politicians, like regular folks, have strengths and weaknesses. Kennedy had alliances with a variety of actresses and gangsters’ molls, Francois Mitterand had a family on the side, and it is rumored that Eleanor Roosevelt had a female lover. The difference, it seems to me, is that in our day and age, there are no secrets: with the Internet + cell phones (and the combination of the two), it would be close to impossible for a politician to keep his peccadillos to himself.
Humor (either intentional or indirect) is one way to get around the drudgery of politicians and political campaigns – whether you’re giving ‘Adolf’ a headache or making a GI bleed through his bandages at the thought of all the gas you’re wasting.
Contemporary politics always seems to me to be a bit dirty: scandals (actual or imagined) are commonplace; promises are empty; and politicians are questioned as to why they would ever want to run in the first place. It makes one long for simpler more innocent times, when the romance of a man in uniform, fighting patriotically for his country and beliefs was the ideal rather than the exception. A time when a poster for returning soldiers could have, as its background, streets paved with a currency made stronger because of their efforts to save the world…
Election fatigue makes me long for a time when, instead of calling your opponent a pig, you could just ask a poster artist to paint him as one, and let the viewer draw their own conclusions…
As for me, come early April I will vote, as I always do, and wait anxiously for spring, as I always do. And when it begins to snow again, as it always does around this time of year, I will remind myself that Montreal in May is one of the most beautiful places on the planet: European, elegant and most importantly to me, home. Oh, and don’t forget the maple syrup! ☺
Here’s a list of places where you can go sugaring off when the political debates make you want to run for the hills.