I just finished The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis.
I picked up this book at the recycle centre. They have a terrific book exchange there. I chose the book because it was a Canada Reads winner in 2011. I think one good way to choose a new book is by the awards they win. They donâ€™t usually give awards to bad reads. The yearly Canada Reads contest tends to select the type of book I enjoy reading.
This book is a perfect book if you want to know a bit about the crazy world of Canadian politics and still keep it light. Of course itâ€™s fiction, so our hopes are raised with the prospect of reluctant politicians that is free to speak the truth, do whatâ€™s right, and call bullshit â€” bullshit, when itâ€™s bullshit.
Good ole Angus McLintock, only agreed to run in his riding if he is sure to lose. Big surprise â€” he doesn’t lose. Technically he didnâ€™t win, spoilt ballots had the most votes, because the favoured candidate really fucks up, so to speak. Unfortunately, we donâ€™t get to vote NO in our country, so it is possible someone can hold office with a fraction of support.
I donâ€™t read or listen to the news much, but I will say our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is an Asshat of the biggest magnitude and bad for Canada; a perfect example of someone who leads with a fraction of support. Now, while this book never mentions any of the leaders by name, there is a paragraph in the book that sums up my feelings quite well on page 60.
â€œâ€¦The clowns that have run the country for the last two decades have dragged democracy through a sewer. There is no end to their conceit and arrogance and no beginning to their vision and intelligence. They simply do not, or cannot, see what is really happening. As Canadiansâ€™ respect for democracy declines and their disdain grows, we tend to abandon the greater good, follow the politiciansâ€™ lead, and grab what we can for ourselves. We give up and accept things as they are, leaving us trapped in a perpetual cycle of self-interest. Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s happening in this country. Aye, itâ€™s a mess and I abhor it. The writ drops tomorrow, but Iâ€™m just a name on the ballot, an ambivalent observer.â€
I read that page many times as it is also how I feel now as Bowen Island enters the 30 day hell of election season for a new mayor and council. Iâ€™d like to stick to my knitting as an ambivalent observer, yet something in me holds out hope for change. Not the obvious change from them to us, or a fake change of Coke to Pepsi. Iâ€™d love to see real change, a nice clear and clean drink of water to nourish the people.
The Best Laid Plans does that â€” it was refreshing and fun, the way I always hoped politics could be.