The force of apathy awakens, but if you see it as Darth Harper versus Justin Trudeauwalker, things almost look dramatic
From the Sith Lord Mike Duffy’s allegiance with Darth Harper to rebel insurgents sporting plaid shirts and carrying a cup of Timmy’s in their holsters, the election has turned into a stellar war of ideologies featuring a leader who lives behind a mask
By Chris Lackner
Now, in a galaxy far, far too close.
There. Got your attention? My Star Wars ploy worked? Now stay focused, Canada. When it comes to our election, I know most of you are either bored, indifferent, disgusted – or blissfully unaware it even started. Much like the Death Star, I’m going to blow your mind in one shot.
With only months to go before the franchise reboot, we can all agree the space opera is waaaaay more interesting than politics. But what if our election was a Star Wars movie?! (Given the cookie-cutter dialogue of recent debates, it already feels like the election was written by George Lucas). To assist prospective voters, I present our political universe through the lens of the sci-fi saga. Cue the series’ famous opening scroll:
It is a period of federal election. Rebel politicians – striking Stephen Harper’s Conservative Empire on its record, from the economy to ethics – have won a series of small victories (with the unintended help of disgraced Sith Lord Mike Duffy).
Courted by two rebels of increasingly blurring colours, centre-left Canadians (the Princess Leia of this analogy – except sporting a denim-plaid combo to wait in a Tim Horton’s line, as opposed to a golden bikini to wait on Jabba the Hutt), wonder who can save their people and restore freedom to the galaxy….”
Darth Harper: The mask fits, so Harper wears it – and it explains his iron-clad rule over fellow Conservatives. Harper must wield the Force, with the ability to choke minions from afar at any given second! He didn’t mention it during Monday’s foreign affairs debate, but we can safely assume Harper is “secretly” building a Death Star somewhere (Nobody willingly goes on that many Arctic trips). When it comes to policy, I’m pretty sure the Tory “Fair Elections Act” – curtailing voting rights – is based on actual Empire legislation. In fact, the Act’s point man, Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre, would probably be wearing a Stormtrooper outfit on the campaign trail if the Prime Minister’s Office would only let him.
Princess Leia = progressive Canadians: While being wooed by the policy flirtations of both Mulcair and Trudeau, this group isn’t looking for a dalliance. They’re searching for their Obi-Wan equivalent to save the country. “This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
Han Solcair or Mulbacca: For purposes of this spacey election exercise, the NDP’s Tom Mulcair is BOTH Han Solo and Chewbacca. He’s the cranky “rogue” of the campaign and he almost matches the Wookie for both facial hair and angry outbursts. After Trudeau introduced his whole “run small deficits and invest” plan, you can bet Mulcair made a sound suspiciously close to Chewie’s “Rrrrrrr-ghghghghgh!” The NDP can only hope their poll numbers don’t get stuck in carbonite.
Justin Trudeauwalker: The Liberal leader is the young buck with the pretty hair, fancy light saber, inner Force (capable of going to the Dark Side… of the deficit) and hammy, melodramatic dialogue. (Re-watch a film from the original trilogy followed by any leaders’ debate, and try telling me Mark Hamill isn’t Trudeau’s acting coach.)
R2-D2 = Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne: Loyal robotic sidekick to young Trudeauwalker – always ready with beep-and-bleep laden quip against the Empire.
The Ewoks = B.C. voters: They’re not nearly as furry, but B.C.’s feisty population of granola-munching, fresh-air aficionados could play a pivotal role in turning the tide against the Empire if they choose to focus their spears on one target. Plus the province sometimes feels so far removed from Ottawa’s ruckus, it could literally be on the Forest Moon of Endor.
Hoth = The Maritimes: Skywalker and a group of rebels established a base on the remote, icy world – much like the entrenched Liberal political base on Canada’s East Coast. Last winter, the Maritimes made Hoth look practically tropical. If I was a party leader, I’d promise to establish a Tauntaun breeding program before the winter; the voters would saddle up.
Tatooine = Quebec: The respective homes of Skywalker and Trudeau. But there’s one big plot difference here. In Star Wars, Luke rescued Han Salo from captivity on Tatooine – whereas Trudeauwalker would love to see Solcair thrown into a Sarlacc pit.
Gilles Duceppe = Admiral Ackbar: The Bloc Leader is so insignificant, he doesn’t land a starring role. But his political ship will still play a role in the battle ahead. Duceppe is the Admiral Ackbar of the election – the kind of bit character with only one memorable line: “It’s a [federalist] trap!”
Elizabeth May = Lando Calrissian: Let’s face it, the Star Wars’ universe was heavy on testosterone, but hear me out. Lando was a fan favourite that betrayed the Rebel Alliance before joining their cause. The popular Green Party boss could play spoiler by splitting the vote and handing certain ridings to Team Harper. But her party could also be a pivotal support player in any minority Rebel government.
Chroda: Jean Chrétien is still a source of inspiration for young Trudeauwalker, and has proven he can still kill it at a campaign rally. Given his legendary Shawinigan handshake, he’s almost as deadly as Yoda at hand-to-hand combat.
Obi-Wan: There are two Obi-Wan figures in this race. Gone but not forgotten. Former NDP leader Jack Layton and former Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau both haunt us – and their respective parties – still.
Preston Manning = the Emperor: Much like Vader knocked off his mentor, the Emperor, Harper basically threw Preston Manning (and many sacrosanct right-wing policies) through a door into outer space – it just happened earlier in our Darth’s galaxy-conquering career.
C-3PO = the average Canadian taxpayer: Barring an official Rebel Alliance, this election could very well end in a fragile minority government and send us back to the polls in six months. As the nervous golden robot once memorably said: “We’re doomed.”
Only time will tell whether this campaign is Canada’s Return of the Jedi or The Empire Strikes Back. Voters, may the Force be with you on Oct. 19.