It's not so long ago that left-leaning Americans thought of Canada as a paradise of pot-smoking, honeymooning gay people. I know that because I once read an article about it in The New York Times. Then, the Americans forgot all about our frozen tundra of progressiveness when their political Rapture arrived in the form of a new president (who's since managed to disappoint, but is still widely acknowledged to not suck nearly as much as the last one).

Canadians seem to have succeeded in embracing the neo-Conservative movement of the '90s a little late. That is by no means an original observation (although if you have never heard it before, trust me: it is a totally original observation). We have a right-wing prime minister who will probably continue to be prime minister largely because his sweater vests are more appealing to voters than the entirety of his opponent, who in every photo strongly resembles Satan. Don't remember his name? Just read the most recent government news releases, which no longer refer to "the Government of Canada" and instead mention something called "the Harper Government."

Stephen Harper is trying to campaign through every mention of Canada's national government; Rob Ford, the new right-wing mayor of Toronto, is branding himself by creating his own imaginary country inspired by the name given to fans of the city's perennially not-playoff-making hockey team. Leaf fans live in an imaginary place called "Leaf Nation." Recently, Ford referred to his supporters as "Ford Nation" and spoke of setting this nation loose on the provincial government if it didn't pony up some cash for Toronto. The name is unintentionally apt, as citizens of Leaf Nation are certainly defined by a constant and crushing sense of disappointment. As an inadvertent and bitter citizen of Ford Nation, I can relate.

So I've gone from basking in the glow of American left-wing envy to living under "the Harper Government" in "Ford Nation". I'm so despondent, it's like I'm practicing to become a Leafs fan.

Click here to sign a petition demanding that Stephen Harper stop naming the Government of Canada after himself.

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