I have a handful of hazy memories of the 1988 Federal Free Trade Election campaign and at least one vivid one from sitting in the kitchen watching the returns come in on election night, but it was the Meech Lake politics that kicked off a four-year period where I took my first interest in Canadian politics. I was eleven when Meech collapsed and had been dabbling in lousy attempts at fiction writing already. Mostly superhero rip-offs of Spider-man and whatever Encyclopedia Brown book I was reading at any given time.
But I did pay attention to the evening news. Three channels and nothing else to watch after all.
And I recall one night, after a particularly ominous-sounding evening's broadcast, I walked into my mother's room where she had been resting and announced I was going to begin work on my first non-fiction work:
"The title is going to be, 'Am I Losing My Country?' and it'll be a kid's view of what's going on."
Mom said something encouraging, as moms are wont to do, and I returned to the kitchen to pick up the coverage once again and plot my manuscript's structure. Of course, I never got beyond the first little bit, but you have to remember the context of why I would feel the way that I did at the time. You have to recall what we would see on the news during that period.
The Berlin Wall had fallen. The USSR was clearly experiencing wild changes. Thatcher was losing her Prime Ministership. George Bush had replaced Reagan not too long beforehand. Again, remember: I wasn't even a teenager yet and only knew "THE BIG STUFF" going on and what I knew was that things were changing, people were making big statements about Canada failing on Meech, Quebec separating, and wouldn't you know it, but it made it sound like there was a lot of turmoil going around the world and that said turmoil was coming onto Canadian soil.
Of course, we know how that turned out.
Still, if there was a period of time that brought me into the political sphere, it was Meech Lake thru 1993 Election Night when I can recall the exact conversation with my father when I told him that I thought I rather liked politics and that maybe down the line I would get into it. Seems like forever ago now.
I can't comment with any authority on Meech itself. Just too young. But had the treat to speak with a few old-school Filmon guys who were around at that time. Some fun stories. Thankful I got that chance. If there was one time period in Canadian history that I could rent the Delorean and head back towards, it would be 1988 election thru the 1993 fallout that I would want to visit. Especially knowing then what I know now.
Will Canada ever get back into the constitutional amendment business? One has to think that logically the answer is yes. But don't ask me to guess when. We're still not over the scars inflicted twenty years ago.