Politics, Mothering, Sex and Religion – Another Illegitimate Canadian Government?

Orange Crush

It seems these days, you can’t check in on Twitter or Facebook without seeing someone posting about the upcoming federal election, votemobs …..or the Vancouver Canucks.

Everyone seems to have an opinion. I love seeing this type of engagement and I’m glad that I live in a country where we can express these freedoms. I’ve been more accustomed over the past decade or so to see apathy abound where voting is concerned. Is it just me, or does it seem like folks are ready to slough off the cloak of apathy, stand up and say what they think? How very “un”-Canadian of us. (We’re usually so polite and keep these things much to ourselves.) My lovely hubby says his mother “taught him young” not to talk of politics, sex or religion in conversation as it might “get him in trouble”.

I’d say there was a generation of us that were warned by our well-meaning mothers about this, and it might be that it takes age, education and a sense of understanding before one can throw off the well-meaning advice of a loving mother and become “un-polite” in raising such issues. I’d hazard to say now, that the gloves are off. For the first time in the history of our family – we’ve got a sign on our front lawn for who we consider the greatest, most informed,  candidate in our riding to represent us in the future.

Our family has engaged in ALL those conversations – politics, sex and religion. We do so on a regular basis, although I’m pretty sure that our conversation is more centred on the political landscape at the moment – a “sexy” conversation in it’s own right, given the issues and the players.

Jacob voted for the first time in his life, in the advanced polls and has been fully engaged in the issues. He’s all over the issue of political reform, and I’ve been excited to hear him talk, form an opinion and express it. I’m grateful that my children grow up in a country that honours democracy…..or does it?


Earlier this week, dancer and arts policy writer Shannon Litzenburger (@shannonlitz on  Twitter) posted an eloquent essay on her blog and echoed exactly the topic of conversation around our dinner table. In The Arts Policy Diaries: Electing Another Illegitimate Government, Shannon clearly outlines the issues surrounding the need for electoral reform and a much more democratic nation. This article is a KEEPER and a MUST read before you vote….and you MUST vote.

The Famous Five
The Famous Five - Sculpture, Calgary


I’m an artist. I “FEEL”….that’s what I do, and I’m very good at it. I do “gut” reaction very well.

I have to say, I know who I’m NOT voting for, but because I actually FEEL as though my vote will not count and the incumbent in this riding arrogantly knows he’s got a “shoe-in” riding, I don’t FEEL like I count. I FEEL like after being in a room with him, I need to shower. I don’t FEEL like I really know who will govern this country well, and I FEEL like it’s because of FEELING unrepresented in a democratic country. I FEEL that this, more than anything else has given rise to that earlier apathy in voter turnout in earlier elections.

I don’t really FEEL hockey, but I know that I do FEEL proud that a Canadian team is in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That must make me Canadian, yes? The fact that I can’t FEEL who should be our leading democratic government is bothering me although I do know after attending a debate for our local candidates this week.

I FEEL as a mother, if I could sit them all down and say to each of them: “Look…I like this part of you but not that part….and if you could just all get along, it would be better for all of us and I’d be VERY happy and FEEL good about that. How can I help you?…And YOU…need to go to your room and think about it until you can come out and play nicely.”

The spirit of knowing that I can vote….express an opinion and indicate where I stand is something that many folks (women especially) in countries around the world do not have. It’s so easy for us to forget this, because we have it cushy! I’m grateful to the women like Nelly McClung and Agnes McPhailthe Famous Five, and my grandmothers and mother who taught me that women have a voice, and acted the part all my life. I’m grateful to the women in my life now who are strong, independent, vulnerable and not afraid to express that.

Long after you are gone, Mr. Harper, the legacy that these women created will live on in the heart of Alberta and in the souls of women and mothers everywhere.


People everywhere are dying for the right to.


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