While I have never been an ardent monarchist, I developed a new appreciation for the monarchy when I watched the other day the wedding of "Wills and Kate," as they are popularly known. This young couple may yet rescue the British monarchy from the brink of disaster. This wedding was beautiful in so many ways that I will not even begin to enumerate them all. It shows both Britain and the Church of England at their very best. For all these reasons, I am very thankful. Moreover, and more to the point for this posting, I sense that there is a euphoria that has spread its wings not only in England but also throughout the world, including Canada.
As you may know Canadians are going to the polls on Monday, May 2. Politicians like Prime Minister Stephen Harper have termed this an unnecessary and unwanted election, but it became necessary due to the vote of Parliament that held the government to be in contempt. Other politicians such as the leader of the opposition, Michael Ignatieff, did want this election, if only to show that many Canadians are unhappy with the current prime minister.
Quite unforeseen by either politicians or pundits, the one politician whose star is shining the brightest in the closing hours of the election campaign is Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democratic party, which, if the election confirms the polls during the last week or so, may result in the NDP replacing the Liberals as the second-largest party in Parliament. Layton has dreams of becoming prime minister, if his party either wins a plurality of seats or is asked by the Governor-General to form a government, if and when the Conservatives lose a vote of confidence after the new Parliament is called into session.
This assumes, of course, a Conservative minority government after the election. If the Conservatives do get a majority, the NDP will not be asked to form a government, but Layton could become the leader of the opposition, provided his party has enough seats. The NDP support could still collapse at the last moment, however, especially if the dirt thrown at Layton a few days ago by the Sun sticks. This has been a vicious campaign. In that case, Canada is back to the status quo, thus no change. Then a majority of Canadians will be very disappointed. But that is a weakness of the first-past-the-post system that Canada has. That is a topic for another time.
These observations are generally accepted as valid by many pundits today. Many would also agree that this election is promising to bring change to Canada. Where they disagree is on the reasons why that change is coming. I won't enumerate these reasons now, since your daily newspaper can provide them for you, if only to discount the possibility of any change.
I do want to suggest a new factor that ought to be considered: the royal wedding and the resulting euphoria that has now reached Canadian shores. In my discussions with an admittedly small group of people, I have come to the conclusion that the desire for change that Canadians are increasingly expressing is being amplified by this feeling of euphoria. People want a better world for themselves and their children. This wedding holds the promise of such a world, and this may carry over into the election. Admittedly, this is still only a hunch.
May 2 will either confirm this desire for change or not. Of course, there will be no way to prove the euphoria factor, as I term it. But I doubt that this euphoria, if it persists, will cause Canadians to endorse five more years of Conservative government. In my opinion, that would be a tragedy. I may also be wrong about the future of the British monarchy as a result of the wedding of Wills and Kate. My opinions, ultimately, will not matter. But the future of Britain and Canada do matter greatly.