"Anything but Conservative" Lawn Sign on Carling Road, Ottawa, October 2015
“Anything but Conservative” Lawn Sign on Carling Road, Ottawa, October 2015

“What are you doing?”

“Putting my shoes on. I’m going outside.”

“Bye-bye, see you tomorrow!”

“No, you’re coming. Put on your jacket.”

“I want to watch Toys!”

“You’ll watch Toy Story later. It’s on the tablet. You know, back in my days, we would watch whatever was on TV, we didn’t get to choose the movie… Oh, never mind. Come on, put on your shoes as well.”

“We’re going… McDonald’s.”

“Nope. See that building? The one you always want to go to?”

“It’s people’s home. People sleep here.”

“Yeah, kind of. It’s a retirement place. But that’s a voting booth today. Watch the road.”

“Red stop. Green… go!”

I’m going to vote. And I want you to come with me.”

“I wanna go home.”

“We left two minutes ago. Come on, go fast, it’s cold. So, voting. One day, you will vote too. And since Daddy doesn’t believe in politics or Western-style democracy, I have to teach you all about it. Oh, that’s okay, Daddy is mostly kidding. He can’t help it though, he is Chinese. Born under Mao, you know, the guy who is on the poster above Mommy’s desk.”

“Go here?”

“Yep. See Mark, you’re the reason why I’m voting today. Remember the guy you found scary on TV? That’s Stephen Harper. I find him scary too. So today, I’m going to try to make him go away. Like when we chase bad dreams away in your room.”


“Okay, technically, he isn’t a monster. Just a… a misguided politician. With scary MPs by his side.”

“Mommy scared?”

“Yeah, I’m kind of scared of him. Sometimes, people are scary. Their ideas are scary. So I want another guy to be the… the boss of the country. This is your country, Mark. Daddy and I were not born here. We are nomads. We are grownups, we can pack and go live somewhere else if we ever need to. But you were born in Canada. You are growing up here and I want you to grow up in a nice country. Do you like it when mommy and daddy take your toys away when you’re not playing nice?”

“No. Daddy no take away. My toys.”

“Well, I don’t want a guy to take away stuff from you. Like your freedom to choose the way you live your life. I want you to play with friends from all over the world. I want you to learn all kinds of things in school, including stuff you are way too young right now for me to explain. I want you to have fun, to go to concerts, to go to museums…”

“I want to go museum! Oh no. Museum closed. Church closed.”

“See, that’s what I’m saying. I want more culture—more museums for you to explore. You can’t do shit with more funding for law enforcement, although I suppose it would be entertaining for you to see cars speed by with sirens on…  And I want you to be able to step into any church, mosque, synagogue or temple you want, just to check it out. Do you play with Kader at school? And Caleb? And Deepa?”

“Yeah. Caleb is funny.”

“Well, I want you to be able to play with everyone, I want everyone to have fun together. It’s just better this way. I don’t want people to be scared, I don’t want people to be told to be scared. Daddy says I’m naive sometimes, but I think it’s good to be nice and naive. So I’ll vote as a nice and naive person.”

“C. O. M… no, no, N.”

“Not this one, Mark. This sign, what does it say?”


“That’s the one I’m voting for. Come on, it will just take a minute. We can go to Tim Hortons after.”

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  1. Cynthia October 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I saw this documentary this week-end ->

    Pretty scary to think that Mr. Harper might be encouraging climate change just to speed up the second coming of Christ!

    1. Zhu October 19, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Oh, thank you for the link, I have to watch it! Not that I need any more incentive to vote for another party…

  2. Martin Penwald October 19, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Yeah !

    By the way, even if Feng is joking, I somewhat agree with his point of view. The problem with elections is that candidates want to be elected, and they can make promises that they’ll never keep because the average voter has no more memory than a goldfish (3 seconds).
    I am against the principle of hereditary monarchy, but monarchists have a point here (yeah, I’ve read French monarchists websites), but they don’t push it to its logical conclusion : having a person in charge of a part of executive power, with real power not like the queen in Canada, not elected, but chosen among citizens (maybe like citizens are chosen for jury duty), for life (until resignation or thrown out for misconduct), so who won’t have to worry about elections, is not a bad idea.
    We still have to work power balancing, and reestablish death penalty, but ONLY for these autocrates : if they betrayed the citizens (and that the point, they represent the citizens, and not the land like the current monarchs. It was an important semantic shift just after the French revolution in 1789 : Louis XVI became king of Frenches instead of king of France), they could be trialed and eventually executed.
    Naturally, they’ll be well paid for their duty, to avoid corruption. And, if they leave the job without stain on their record, they’ll be paid for life and forbidden to hold jobs (or at least strictly limited in the kind of jobs they can do).

    1. Zhu October 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I completely understand your point. I used to love politics. I used to think anything could be solved with the right person in power. Then I grew up… and I worked on Parliament Hill. It was just maddening to see politicians to spend so much time digging dirt on each other and not solving issues. And issues are tough to solve as well in a globalized world…

  3. petite yaye October 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Souvenir d’enfance quand j’allais voter avec mes parents ! du coup j’emmène tout le temps Michoco voter avec moi aussi, question de principe !!

    1. Zhu October 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Tu vote où? En France? Je ne sais même pas quel est ton statut au Sénégal en fait!

  4. Holly October 19, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Love it! I am pretty sure we will be celebrating soon 🙂

    1. Martin Penwald October 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Yeah ! 4 more years of Harper !

      1. Zhu October 19, 2015 at 5:05 pm

        You. Banned. Outside. DEHORS! :-))

    2. Zhu October 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Hoping… hoping…

  5. Martin Penwald October 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

    If Mark came with you inside the booth, it is an infraction against the rules of privacy and secrecy of the vote, and your vote should be invalidated 🙂

    1. Zhu October 19, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Damn. Oh well. I just have to… silence the person who witnessed my vote??

  6. AL October 20, 2015 at 12:47 am

    finally the nightmare HARPER is OUT!

    1. Zhu October 20, 2015 at 6:52 pm


  7. Martin Penwald October 20, 2015 at 1:14 am

    So, Juju will be the new premier … And the conservatives the official opposition. Disappointing. I don’t even understand why Alberta has voted for conservatives when the NDP has won a few months ago. It doesn’t make sense.

    1. Zhu October 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      I thought the NDP would have done better. But I’m just happy Harper is out.

  8. Jeruen October 20, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Congratulations! I just read it on the news!

    I don’t know much about Canadian politics, but I just saw a political map, and it seems that the Prairie provinces are quite blue no? I always find it fascinating to see geographical distributions of political inclinations.

    1. Zhu October 20, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      The West, and especially Alberta, is Harper’s homeland. The whole oil industry…

  9. Christiane November 1, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Wish i could have voted !! Though nice explanation 🙂

    1. Zhu November 1, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      You will, next time!


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