Stephen Harper’s pummelling the masses with money, MPPs are promptly returning calls from student journalists and Stéphane Dion is drinking green beer at the Ram in the Rye. Either an election is on the horizon, or — well, there isn’t any other explanation. Only the smell of ballots in the air has this effect on politicians. And what that means for us is about six months of solid entertainment.
Election rhetoric may be exhausting, but if you can get past the mundane choreography of a campaign trail, you’ll notice the utter hilarity unfolding before your eyes.
Exaggerated celebrity gossip can’t hold a candle to real-life stories of grown men and women battling over sign locations, amateur attempts at mud slinging — “Stéphane Dion is not a leader! No, seriously!” — and Harry Rosen suits making appearances in slum areas of the country. Case and point: our basement campus pub.
The political game makes the players crazy, and there’s no better example than campus elections.
Even the sanity-level at The Eyeopener drops a few notches this time of year, as editors and loyal volunteers start campaigning for next term’s masthead positions. Platforms are laid out, quiet alliances are formed and smear campaigns begin (well not really, but we’re crossing our fingers someone will start one this year).
Upstairs, the Ryerson Students’ Union just recovered from its own “election,” but the politics don’t stop. When Bob Rae and I sat down in Heaslip House last week to talk about his views on Ryerson and the Toronto Centre riding, RSU president-elect and diehard Canadian Federation of Students representative Nora Loreto wasted no time crashing the interview hoping to land a political blow. For the most part, she resigned herself to the reduce tuition script. Rae was unfazed, but now she has a story to impress the kids back at the CFS clubhouse.
Perhaps it was politics that prompted a University of Toronto student politician to call the campus police on an Eye photo editor and me two weeks ago, after the girl running for president decided she didn’t want her picture taken by a Ryerson newspaper. We explained that legally she is a public figure in a public place, it won’t take long and took it anyway (albeit feeling like assholes). She cried. We apologized — profusely. The cops didn’t kick us out. We apologized again anyway. They accused us of meddling with the election. We walked home scratching our heads, and she won by a landslide. It’s the kind of drama that dreams are made of. The kind we pray the “real” politicians live up to in the coming months.
Grab some popcorn. You thought hockey violence was bad? Elections produce the ultimate goons. And for the next however many months, the best game in town is on 24/7.