Canadians are Excited to Vote … in the U.S. Election

Four years ago, a London, Ontario politician told me, “You’re for Barack Obama? I know someone who has an Obama sign on their lawn. Let’s go and swipe it.”

Are you gearing up for the upcoming U.S. election? I thought I’d have to wait until the debates started to get glued to the television set but the Republican convention didn’t disappoint in terms of entertaining moments. Clint Eastwood didn’t make this Obama supporter’s day but it certainly was twelve minutes I won’t soon forget!

We certainly have our share of “characters” up here in Canada as well.

Four years ago, a London, Ontario politician told me, “You’re for Barack Obama? I know someone who has an Obama sign on their lawn. Let’s go and swipe it.”

Now if I had visited the States and viewed a field of Yes We Can signs, I know I’d have the “audacity” to consider taking one, but I “hope” I wouldn’t. I replied, “No, I paid a friend who’s an Obama supporter in New York to order one for me.” It’s not like I need another reason not to trust politicians, but they just never disappoint, do they?

My friends wondered why I was finally getting politically motivated and obsessing about an election south of the border, no less, but I know I wasn’t alone.

A poll by the Canadian polling company Environic and co-sponsored by the CBC found 15 per cent of Canadians would have given up their ballot in Canada’s ’08 federal election to vote in the U.S. election. And 46 per cent of those surveyed said it mattered a great deal to Canada who won that November U.S. presidential election.

I seconded that motion on both counts. That was the first time I was truly inspired politically. Wanted to vote. Wanted to volunteer. Wanted to get a U.S. work visa (not to move; rather to support) and do anything I could for the cause.

Why? Some people think it’s three measly words: Yes We Can, which now could be changed to Oh, Yes We Could and Did! Others feel Obama fever began due to one speech Obama gave at the 2004 Democratic convention.

It takes more than a speech for me. I’m so uninspired by our Canadian political leaders it’s not even funny.

I was too young to have Trudeau fever the first time around but I am a late bloomer. You could say Pierre Elliot Trudeau became an obsession of mine late in both of our lives. So much so that when he passed away in 2000, we renamed our Siamese cat—from Bach to Bach-Pierre—in tribute.

Will his son, Justin, rekindle a wave of Liberal mania? Who knows? I’d like to get excited about something up here! Meanwhile, Obama will have to do. His language still speaks to me—a gay male who, while not affiliated with any religion, respects faith in its many forms.
In his second book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote,

“I am not willing to have the state deny American citizens a civil union that confers … no such basic matters as hospital visitation or health insurance coverage simply because the people they love are of the same sex — nor am I willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.”

I am not anti-Republican, but you think we’re going to hear a message like that from a Romney or a Ryan? With Obama I heard a new language in politics. Or at the very least words we don’t hear enough. Again from The Audacity of Hope:

“I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. For it is the predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face … locked in “either/or” thinking … What is needed is a broad majority who are re-engaged and who see their own self-interest as inextricably linked to the interest of others.”

Well, I am getting engaged again and have linked myself with Obamakins worldwide. YouTube and Facebook have played their part but for me it is so much more.

The sex, religion, colour or orientation of an individual has nothing to do with why he or she inspires me. What they say, how they live, do they practice what they preach? Those are the choices that define a human being.

I’ll still be watching the younger Trudeau’s choices up here (as well as the other political hopefuls). Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the Democratic Convention AND dusting off my Obama sign. Once again, I’ll tape it inside our front window.

You just never know when a very different kind of politician might drive by.


Read more in Politics.

Photo credit:  shutterblog/Flickr

About Donald D'Haene

Donald D'Haene started his own successful theatre/opinion web site:, is an author (Father's Touch), Huffington Post Blogger, and was one of the male Survivors on the Oprah 200 Survivors Episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, November 2010. Follow Donald D'Haene on Twitter @TheDonaldNorth.


  1. marcel dagenais says:

    you got to be kidding right?

  2. Since I wrote the column above, I just have to post this here: How could one not praise Michele Obama’s speech tonight? It was superb. I was like, I know people saw Hilary Clinton as presidential material from her days running for New York senator. Tonight was the first time I saw Michele Obama in the driver’s seat in the future! Michele Obama = grace, class, original, inspirational!

  3. Thanks Donald for a very good article. As an American I love Canada. Both countries are sort of interdependent on each other. The US and Canada are so close geographically that we share much economically, socially, and culturally. For example, we share the National Hockey League. Canada has teams such as the Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, and Ottawa Senators that regularly play American teams such as the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators.
    Sadly, A lot of Americans do not know much about Canada. Many Americans are not aware that Ottawa is the Capital of Canada or the name of Canadian provinces such as British Columbia. Some Americans even may think Canadians live in igloos. I as an American consider Canada our friend and it is a beautiful country. I know President Obama visited Ottawa and loves Canada.Provinces such as Alberta are gorgeous while states such as Colorado are gorgeous as well. Both countries share so much in common yet Canadians and Americans are different in a way. I think Canadians are more reserved than Americans and may have slightly different personalities. Finally as an American I love the Canadian national anthem “O Canada”. I love when the play it in Montreal before the Canadiens game and it is sung in french. Thanks again for a great article and to all those Canadians you are always welcome to visit and travel to The USA. Your travel helps us economically. In the winter you Canadians are welcome to visit places such as California, Arizona, Hawaii, and Florida.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words. Someone just sent me today a list of things that make us different then Americans. Some were lightweight:
      1. Smarties (not sold in the USA )

      2. Crispy Crunch, Coffee Crisp (not sold in the USA )

      3. The size of our footballs fields, one less down, and bigger balls.

      Is that true? I don’t know but one was really interesting in terms of our personality, attitude, temperament:

      14. Our civil war was fought in a bar and lasted a little over an hour.

      Anyways, we are one planet which is the most important thing – I believe we are all equal – all brothers and sisters. Thanks again for your note.

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