Where Were They for the Candidate's Debates?

Where Were They for the Candidate's Debates?

An Interview with Moxy Fruvous by Cathy Wawrykow

Take a close look at the cover art of Moxy Fruvous' Bargainville. Depleted resources, a struggling labour force, it's all up for grabs in the free trade haven that is Bargainville.

Could this be a pointed jab at what many perceived as a parcelling off and selling of our fair nation? Maybe, sayeth Moxy Fruvous. "Because our show touches loosely around the Bargainville theme, with theatrics and a through-line throughout the show," explains Jean Ghomeshi before an appearance of the band's latest tour. "A review made reference to the notion of Bargainville as an analogy to an economically depressed Canada."

Mike Ford wouldn't categorize he and fellow Fruvites as nationalists in the flag-waving sense, and feels that nationalism for the sake of nationalism is a bankrupt notion. Without some substance behind it, it's worthless.

"If there are things that are valuable about a particular country, say this one, in terms of some of the entrenched social-minded policies or, in fact, the actual land of that country being preservable in a more or less healthy state, then those things tie in nicely to protecting that country in whatever way."

Ghomeshi goes even further with the concept, saying that fervent blind patriotism or jingoism can be dangerous and a way of whipping up Us vs. Them mentalities that can lead to xenophobia, exclusionary ideas, racism and other detrimental mind-sets.

"There are reasons to love this country and if being nationalistic means supporting social policies or programs that try to bring some equity and standards of living for people in the country then, absolutely, I'm nationalistic," he says.

You may, dear reader, have picked up on the propensity for the Fruvous clan to indulge in political speculation when prompted. The recent federal election provided even more fodder for conversation.

"I voted well," points out Dave Matheson, stroking his ever more closely cropped head (that's a good story in itself, involving a frugal spirit, a pair of clippers and two new friends).

"I didn't vote," volunteers Ford. "Not by conscious decision but by procrastination. It would have been done in an advance poll, which I should have done."

Had he not been visited by the thief of time, Ford would have voted the way Ghomeshi and Murray Foster cast their ballots: NDP. Either that or the Natural Law Party. Ghomeshi says his vote was cast only to support a candidate who was not only former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, but also a longtime environmental activist. "I'm extremely disillusioned with the NDP, especially with the provincial party in Ontario," Ghomeshi explains while Foster nods his agreement in the direction of his apparently delicious soup. "(Rae) is running like a Tory, but better a than a Conservative government would. But given the options, she was the best choice."

So, after we've all enjoyed the exquisite irony of the former leaders of the government now having fewer seats than a Honda Civic, is it going to make any difference?

"We've made our position on the Mulroney government's policies pretty clear over the last three years," says Ghomeshi. "But after the initial euphoria of going 'wow, the Tories are decimated,' one begins to realize that they've been replaced essentially, west of Quebec anyway, by the Reform party, which is just a more right-wing extreme version of all the things we didn't like about the Tories."

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