Canadian Federal Election Woes

image by Elaine Ho
image by Elaine Ho

On this Canadian Federal election day, I’m having a lot of feels about being Canadian. As a person who is now in the process of moving to the US those feels are also amplified and then folded in half, twisted around and smacked a few times for good measure. Basically…I’m an anxiety ridden distracted mess.

Over the past 9 years of Harpers “reign” I feel like Canada has started to resemble the US in many ways. I mean let’s be real here…Canada and the US already were MORE similar than they were different, for all intents and purposes. But there were always small differences, little things that made me happy I lived in Canada rather than the US. But lately? Those little differences seemed to be getting fewer and farther between. This may also have a lot to do with the major amount of positive change that’s been happening in the US re health care and gay rights…but it’s mostly in large part due to the changes made by the Conservative government regarding the environment, immigration and funding cuts to areas of society I feel are important (early education, the arts, the list goes on).

Image by James Braithwaite
Image by James Braithwaite

I have to say honestly that when my bf (now husband) asked me if I wanted to move to the US with him I didn’t hesitate all that much. Yes, that may have had SOMETHING to do with being in love, obviously. But the hesitation I once would have felt due to leaving my beloved Canada had diminished substantially.

There are still differences between the two countries, of course. There’s absolutely no denying that. But the way Canadian policy had been going lately, the differences seemed much more fuzzy than they had to me 10 years ago.

Honestly, I think I’m a bit mad at Canada, and honestly, Canadians. The fact that I was living in a province that almost daily reminded me I wasn’t welcome there didn’t help either. I wasn’t actively looking to leave, but when the choice came up, it wasn’t as hard as I would have thought it to be.

And you know what? As excited as I am to be in California building a life with my lovely man, that makes me sad. I feel like I can actually remember a time when I would have found the decision much harder, a time when I was much PROUDER of Canada and the positions it took in global society.

Image by (and of) Risa Dickens
Image by (and of) Risa Dickens

All this to say, what I am INCREDIBLY proud of is all my friends who are so active in their communities and who are CLEARLY taking the time to vote and spread political consciousness via their various social media. I’ve seen people offer to babysit others children so they can get out of the house to vote, driving people to their polling stations, volunteering at polling stations as well as posting a constant stream of informational links regarding what ID you need, how to find your polling station, etc. I’m proud to call you guys friends, proud that you care so much and put your actions behind your words.

Fingers crossed today is the start to a new era for Canadians…if you guys could figure out the cold weather situation maybe I’ll consider moving back someday. (insert bad climate change/voting for Harper joke here)

(All images via my friends FB feed: Title Image by Karen Messer, Image 1: Elaine Ho, Image 2: James Braithwaite, Image 3: Risa Dickens, thank you beautiful friends!)

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