2011 Canadian Federal Election: Give Me a Good Reason To Vote For You

ElectionIt always kind of astounds me how visceral some politicians and politicos can become with each other.  I read a tweet the other day after Prime Minister Harper promised a tax break after he eliminates the federal deficit.  In the 140-character tweet, the author tries to explain how wrong Harper is.  He then exclaimed what BS!  I had to laugh, this is politics, and there is lots of BS to pass around.

I certainly saw a lot of it during the first few days of the election campaign.  First off the mark was Prime Minister Stephen Harper who said that if he didn’t get a majority government then Canadians would get a coalition of the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois.  Of course that was coded with a lot of sinister adjectives effectively painting the opposition as some sort of terrible disease.  In fact, the coalition talk was hyped so much I think it began to wear on Canadians judgment.  PM Harper, I hear you.  Now, leave it alone for a while and let Canadians be your own judge.

If you have read this column over the last several years you will know that with our current political arrangement in Canada I think majority governments are impossible.   You spot the Bloc 50 seats out of the Quebec and it’s literally impossible that the math will work in a way throughout the rest of the country for any party to get a majority.  In 2011, I don’t see that changing.

Despite that, elections are like the poison pill to politicians.  The federal budget was the flash point for the opposition to defeat the conservative government.  However, they used a contempt motion as a matter of confidence to put the wheels together for the government’s defeat.  Next up would’ve been supporting the federal budget but our opposition parties had no interest in that.  I think they just wanted an election and so now we have it.  It is the nature he our minority parliaments that this will be the fourth election in seven years.

So of course everybody is probably wondering who will win.  I watch the polls because the polls are always right and they say that the Conservatives will gain the most seats.  I think this election is important for the Liberal party of Canada.  Michael Ignatieff is a rookie at leading a political party during an election campaign and how he stands up will surely gauge how well the Liberals will do.  The media discord up until the election was that he was not up for the job. However, I beg to differ.  I think Michael Ignatieff should be judged on the breadth of his ideas.  I don’t see a thing wrong with him.

In fact I have no issue with any of our political leaders.  I have met two of them, Prime Minister Harper and NDP leader Jack Layton.  I’ve found them to be both fine individuals, oozing with credentials and Canadian patriots.  Sure, Michael Ignatieff might not have the same Tim Horton’s cachet, but he’s Canadian, just like the rest of us.

Increasingly, I’m seeing this election campaign as a difference in leadership.  For those of you who have read this column regularly, you’ll know that I often say the Conservatives are bent on snatching defeat from victory.  They are prone to do stupid political things, which they don’t have to do.  So now that we are in an election campaign, I really don’t expect that to stop.  We are going to wake up one of these days where they will do something stupid again which is totally unnecessary hurting Stephen Harper’s chances.  I’m just saying.  All the other parties have to do is wait.

That will probably not translate into a Stephen Harper loss.  It will probably simply translate into more of the same.  I am actually very disappointed in the political choices I have this election because I was hoping somebody would disagree with Canadian participation in Libya.  That would make voting easy.  However, last time I checked all the political parties thought that was a great idea.

The sad part about all this is the political fatigue settling in the land.  We all know our participation rates at the voting booth had been declining.  Older people vote and young people don’t.   Part of problem is Canadian politics is not compelling.  People have checked out.  Sometimes I think I should too.  However, that’s not in my DNA.  So come May 2nd I’ll be in the voting booth, but please, somebody give me a good reason to vote for them.

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