Friday, February 5

‘Can this Onion Ring get more fans than Stephen Harper?’ Facebook Fansite Page, 02.04.10

Yesterday a Facebook group started asking this very question and inviting people to join up. By the time I found it yesterday afternoon membership had already exceeded 45,000. This morning it has exceeded 64,000 fans and is growing at a rate in excess of 1000 fans per hour.

It obviously isn’t meant to be a serious site, but it does capture the moment, and does so with a typically Canadian sense of humor. Many Canadians are as embarrassed of Stephen Harper and his Conservative party, just as many Americans were of George W. Did we ever think it could be this bad?

Canadian politics is a joke of course. A multi-party system of parliamentary democracy with a figure head executive position in the absence of an actual queen, and an appointed senate that is an utter joke in terms of actually providing any kind of check and balance to the system. Our Prime Minister, whether a Conservative, Liberal, NDP or Onion Ring, gains that position not because the country votes for him or her, but because she or he wins their electoral riding after their party votes them into a leadership position.

Think about this: The leader of our country is the leader only because a very small percentage of the country thought he should gain office. In fact, if a Party Leader fails in their electoral riding, another member of their party can and has stepped down to allow said leader to have a seat in the House of Commons. Hypothetically, the Prime Minister can fail in their election bid and still become Prime Minister.

What’s wrong with this picture?

So yeah, the Onion Ring is gaining momentum. Harper has gone on record saying he only needs 40% of the vote to maintain his minority government. That works out to around 25-30% of the eligible voting population, or in the neighborhood of 6,666,000 votes. And that’s making some fairly optimistic assumptions regarding voter engagement. What will it say if this little group of nonsensical dissent can reach that marker? There are already t-shirts available, one of them (my favorite) with an iconic Obama-ized theme. A faux-Onion Ring Party has even been started (anyone remember the Rhinos?). How can an onion ring capture more of the national zeitgeist than the nations elected officials?

Most importantly, how can the politicians of Canada, all of them regardless of party, not see how disillusioned the voting population is? How do they sleep at night?

Does anyone really want an Onion Ring as the leader of our country? Probably not, but there are many that think it would be an improvement…