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​Why I'm Tossing My Vote into Canada's Dumpster Fire of an Election

Here's legendary Canadian Paul Spence on why it's OK to be frustrated with politics.

Paul Spence as Deaner, Canada's favorite hoser. Photo via Paul Spence

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

Canada. Election. ARE YOU EXCITED YET?! ARE YOU HOOKED? Chances are no, no you are not. Chances are that, like me, you are confused, regretting your last meal choice, and wearing socks purchased in some kind of panic. Like me, you used to party harder, but real life sucks when you're hungover, so you drink less, and the world has slowly expanded beyond tipping the bartender for feigned affection and the hope of better service. A light has crept into your life, one that has you understanding that getting better service in the broader sense starts with fighting for what you believe in.


Right. So let's vote. Let's vote hard. Let's vote for the good guys.

Now let's see, what have we got? The Conservatives, with the seemingly fiscally responsible guy whom everybody hates except the Christians. The Liberals, with the fiendishly handsome bébé Justin who's almost made us forget his party's decades worth of horrifying graft. And the New Democratic Party, with the friendly fisherman guy—the "I have no idea what this party stands for other than the color orange and maybe the environment" party. I'm sure it'll come, but nobody's won me over yet.

Giv'er tonight by watching VICE's Election Circus 2015.

In past elections it was rare I could name all three candidates before the race began, and I rarely knew much beyond that by the end. But things are different now. My Twitter feed is full of retweets, opinions, hilariously doctored photos, all haphazardly INFORMING me. By simply indulging in the insane sickness that is my Twitter obsession, I now know things about politics. Canadian politics! But what do I really know?

I know that I watched one of the debates completely smashed, and vaguely remember saying, "USE YOUR AGGRESSIVE FEELINGS, TOM! LET THE HATE FLOW THROUGH YOU!!!!" and cackled like the evil Emperor.

I know that every time I read an op-ed I feel like that writer knows everything and we should all do exactly what they say, until I read someone else with a different opinion and think the same thing about them. When it comes to consuming other people's opinions, I am a stunned fish in Lazy Lake, into which thousands of columnists have dangled their lines. Which one to take? They all look so delicious!


I know that Justin Trudeau led a life parched of mother's milk. I know that Stephen Harper's wife parties and goes "mudding" every summer on ATVs. I know that Tim Hortons is a trusted place to carry out Craigslist transactions for both old-stock and new-stock Canadians. I also know some stuff about the economy, foreign policy, etc., but not enough to try and inform anyone other than maybe a ten-year-old. (Although frankly, if a ten-year-old asked me to explain politics, we probably wouldn't get past the expression "Polling the Electorate.")

So now, after Canada's Lengthiest Election (the most gripping reality TV since Canada's Sorriest Millionaire), the end is finally approaching. We've pried the rear plate off this greasy old fridge, smacked the compressor back into action with a screwdriver, and we're ready to elect a leader. And despite this election offering us a wealth of new storylines and delightful handfuls of sand in the eyes (looking at you coffee mug pissing guy), it's like my pops used to say about politics up here, "Same split, different guile." In our "first past the post" electoral system, the candidate with the most votes wins, so if there's four people running, someone with less than a third of the votes could technically become our prime minister. Ridiculous.

If this election was, say, Harper versus Mulcair, it would have been over months ago. Mulcair simply tattoos the word "Change" on his dick, swings it around for a few weeks, and boom, he's our next PM. But no, we have three parties on the left, frantically dancing around like circus bears, trying to get peanuts from the 65 percent of voters who are looking to oust the Conservatives. 10-30-30-30. A good choice for a pizza place phone number, but a frustrating voting reality.

I try to imagine that we are standing on the precipice of some great thing. That this election has the potential to define the next four years in a meaningful way. And maybe it will. I truly hope that's the case. Say what you will about hope, it's all we've got.

And so, doused with a fragrant political backwash that has me wondering if I'm doing enough to figure it out, or simply too dumb to understand it, I WILL VOTE in this election. Yes. I will cast my voice into the chasm, if only so that I can say, "Hey, I didn't vote for the fuckin' guy." Because, THAT is what democracy is all about.

Follow Paul on Twitter.