Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election Day - Canadian Style

Today is election day in Canada. In Canada we don't fool around. An election is called and two months later - bang! we vote.
What is that? Oh, our Prime Minister passed a bill stating that we would have fixed election dates a la the USA? He ignored that because he was in a Minority government? Let's not talk about that...
I will vote. I have voted in almost every Provincial and Federal election since I was 18. I do my duty. I even follow politics - though rarely do I voice my opinion publicly regarding particular parties and politicians.
However, I must say I am truly tired of the political process as it has become. The so called debates and discussions are nothing other than an opportunity for the politicians to voice their "talking points." They all do it. All of them. However, the one politician in Canada that I think is the best (or worst) example of this is Jack Layton. It drives me crazy. Any question posed he turns into a discussion of his talking points. It is so transparent. And if I hear him say "working families" one more time I will cry. Tears. Actual tears rolling down my cheeks. Do you hear that Jack? Don't make me cry.
I am not the first to say this and I don't claim I am revealing any great insight here - but public discourse is dead. We no longer know how to discuss, debate, and argue in rational and meanigful ways. The fact that the term "rhetoric" has become a slur is indicative of the situation. Rhetoric: the art of using language effectively and persuasively. No - we don't want that in our politics apparently. We want monotonous talking points, ad hominem attacks, red herrings, and begging the question. Why? I don't know. It drives me crazy. But they wouldn't do it if it wasn't effective. Has it always been this way? Maybe. I don't know. Probably.
An example. The Conservatives attack the Liberal "Carbon Tax" on the basis of.... it is scary! It is a risk! The comercials don't lay out anything other than it may be a big risk and it is scary. I am not saying I like the idea of a carbon tax but how about giving some actual reasons against the the Carbon Tax rather than just saying: BOO!
The Liberals: I really don't know what to say here. I am not sure what they are about. Something about a Carbon Tax and they say Stephen Harper doesn't care about people or some such.
The Green Party: ?.
The Bloc Quebecois: A travesty that a seperatist party is even a part of the game. I suspect in many other countries instead of being a political party they would be in jail for treason.
So, I will vote. It is the least I can do. Literally. In a democracy it is the least you can do. I just wish I felt more inspired by the process.


Father Hollywood said...

Actually, there are lots of separatist parties around the world: the Liga Norte in Italy (who want Northern Italian independence), the Southern Party in the US (seeking the re-establishment of Southern independence), the Alaskan Independence Party (Gov. Palin even greeted them at their convention), several Hawaiian independence parties, etc.

Canada and the US (and the UN) supported the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia, and the US recognized the unilateral secession of Kosovo from Serbia (of course, when South Ossetia and Abkhazia want the same independence from US-friendly Georgia, it's a "different story").

The US assisted in Panama's secession from Columbia, supported the Baltics from the USSR, and had no problem with the split of Czechoslovakia and the breakup of Yugoslavia. And let's not forget how Texas left Mexico! (Of course, when Texas wanted to leave the US just a few years later, well, that was a "different story").

The US became a country because of the assertion of the moral right to secession, and then left the door open to secession from the US with the 10th Amendment (of course, when someone actually tried to walk through the door, it was a "different story").

It's really only dictatorships and oppressive countries that would outlaw such political parties (can you imagine a Tibet Independence Party being permitted in China?). I think Canada's history of being an at-times fragile coalition between Natives, Anglos, and Francophones would make outlawing independence-minded political parties pretty unpopular.

Besides, I've heard a lot of English Canadians express the wish that the Quebecois would leave and get it over with. I would imagine your federal taxes would go down!

Canadian politics is a lot more interesting than ours - that's for sure! At very least, there are a lot more choices, and even if your party loses, it can have a say in Parliament.

Mike Keith said...

Confusing the matter with facts from around the world, eh?

Toronto life insurance broker said...

I am afraid this is the main problem of western democracy systems - not the most intelligent, not those with the highest morale win. Good actors, populists, people who are able to twist the truth and put honey on lies, those are often winners. Plato knew it thousands years ago and nothing has changed since his ages. The problem is we don't have anything better (no thank you, I don't want a dictator...)
And about separatists - there are two tendencies in the world - globalization and decentralization - I believe no matter how many "administrative" countries, all world will be the same soon...