Mainstream Meets the FringeBy STEVEN PAGE, NOW Toronto, January 16th, 2003.
I'm not sentimental about the NDP's past. Although I've always voted for it, I joined the party to support Jack. I've spoken with so many people my age and younger who are detached from electoralism, as though the system doesn't affect them. They hold it in the same disdain they usually reserve for McDonald's or the Gap. We need to treat politics as a tool, not as some arcane religion to be either blindly followed or glibly dismissed. Without a strong voice on the left, Canada's just not Canada any more. Jack has offered to work for us, and I can't imagine why we'd turn him down in favour of the same old party that has waned in popularity and profile for the last 15 years.
Some people have told me that I'm brave for coming out in favour of a political candidate, but I can't help but feel that it's my responsibility. How can I continue to support causes (Causes, with a capital "C," are always fashionable for musicians, politics are not) without finding someone to enact change in their favour? It's the role of the artist not to bring the fringe into the mainstream, but to invite the mainstream to come join us on the fringes.
Steven Page is a member of Barenaked Ladies