Commentary  Life Lines: Next Tuesday, flex your affecting muscles

Almost every columnist in almost every newspaper seems to be writing about how America will define her next president or how the next president will define America.

Now, I don’t have anything against American elections; it tends to be an essential part of their system. And I wish all the best of luck to the winner, be he Barack Obama or that other guy. But I do have something against following the herd.

So while everybody is writing something that everybody already knows about, I’m donning my non-conformist hat and writing about something that nobody really knows about.

With the Canadian election just one week away, political science professors are filling their notes with theories on who will win, lobbyists are flooding the streets, and analysts are working around the clock to determine what is going on behind the societal psyche.

The only portion of the general population that seems to be unaware of all the fun seems to be the population in general. They do know that one of the party leaders shares Celine Dion’s surname, which could be either wonderful or disastrous for his votes (depends if the voter is from Quebec or not), and they do know that the current Prime Minister, despite his surname, is not a player of any stringed instrument…because he’s just not that kind of guy.

But what they do not know is this: that both these men and the men and woman from the other three parties – yes, Canada has more than two parties – matter. They matter in that they have a substantial effect on this country. And this country, despite its land-to-people ratio and its weird infatuation with anything ice, is quite special.

Maybe our candidates haven’t all written bestselling memoirs, and maybe their birthplace isn’t as cool as Hawaii. But they’re in charge of a country that vigourously encourages variety through multiculturalism, profoundly respects other nations by not invading them, and a country that has managed to stay humble despite its many reasons to be proud.

For this, if for no other purpose, you should go out and have an effect on who leads this land. Affect whether Canada continues evading its environmental commitment under the Kyoto Protocol, affect how long our military forces stay in Afghanistan, and affect who represents you to the world.

And if all this affecting is too much for you; that’s alright. You can continue watching the Yankees yelling each other away from office – but when the time comes for them to start paying us for our freshwater, you’re not getting any of the dough.

Life Lines appears every Monday. Johanu likes to hit up at least two parties every Tuesday, so send him deets to

And if you haven’t yet, head on over to to figure out how to vote in the damn election. It’s kinda sorta pretty important to do stuff like voting.