Diversity of views

If a person thought that Canada was one big, happy and homogenous country, then there’s no time like an election to disprove the theory. Canada’s differences come to full view as the political parties cross the country combing the streets and halls for votes.

As a person who has pounded the pavement and seen door-to-door campaigning both as a candidate and as a campaigner, the differences can not only be region to region but door to door. Go to one door and a certain party leader is the best thing since sliced bread. Go to the next door and the same party leader can be seen as the biggest crook in the country.

Studying politics and how people perceive politics is fascinating. How can one politician be loved by many and hated by equally as many? 
And how can parties be perceived to be left wing or right wing? The Manitoba NDP are seen as left wing and yet under Gary Doer they would pull off some middle of the road policies. Not so much lately but the left-wing policies of the NDP aren’t always practiced. In fact, the lack of left wing policies in that party is a real cause for anger among some party members as the true lefties in the party want to take the NDP way over into the socialist realm. 

The federal Conservative party under Prime Minister Harper are painted as being very right wing. If that were true, they would never have gone so far with the so-called “recovery package” plunging the country into huge debt. It can be argued legitimately that Harper was forced to do so by a minority parliament. Strangely enough, the Michael Ignatieff lead Liberals are screaming about the recently acquired debt load when it was in fact Ignatieff and his Liberal and NDP friends who said a year or so ago, that Harper didn’t go far enough to bail out the auto industry and that he didn’t spend enough money on the economy.

The problem as I see it is that few politicians have principles and political parties rarely have principles. Politicians rarely actually stand up for what they believe in if they are faced with losing a vote. Parties will rarely stand up for what they say they believe in if they stand to lose a vote. That’s why both politicians and parties are constantly waving around in the ever-changing breezes of public opinion, hoping to catch enough wind to fill their sails and propel them forward.

What I would like to see is both politicians and parties take a stand on issues. Ideally, political parties wouldn’t exist but that’s not going to happen. We would be a lot better off, ideally, if we elected all independent candidates and that the parliament elected the the prime minister and the cabinet ministers. Any astute observer of parliament or a legislature would be able to pick out the best prime minister or premier from among the elected group of MPs and MLAs. But that’s not going to happen. Five hundred years of parliamentary party tradition isn’t about to give way to us having a parliament of independents.

If politicians and parties took a stand on issues, it would be a whole lot easier to cast a vote. The reason that half the people don’t vote is that they feel all politicians are the same and that an individual’s vote doesn’t matter. It’s hard to argue with that logic as the lines between politicians and parties are often so blurred that a voter can’t  easily tell the difference.

In spite of all the above rather negative views, this federal election on May 2 is more clear cut than some. In spite of the fact that the Green Party has some good ideas, their overall platform and their leader simply aren’t credible. I know NDP leader Jack Layton, having met and talked to him several times. He’s a credible individual but his stand on some issues is so far from what I believe that there’s no way I would vote for him. The local candidate is almost unknown to us anyway. Michael Ignatieff is a decent man and there’s no question that local candidate, Wendy Menzies is a fine person. The Liberal party just doesn’t get it on either fiscal or social policy, so that leaves one choice for most of the people in this constituency, the Conservatve party.

Local candidate, Robert Sopuck is fairly well known, as are his views. He’s a big supporter of farming and sustainable environment. Harper, in spite of what some would criticize him for is the best leader. So the vote in this area will likely go overwhelmingly to the Conservatives. It’s the best choice for this area and it was my choice when I voted at the advance poll.

All that said, there lot’s of room for debate about where  we should go as a country and later this year as a province. The pages of The Banner are always open to people’s views, have been for 22 years and that’s not about to change.

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kwaddell@kenwaddell.ca This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247