A clear question and a clear decision

Last week, The Banner called for a majority Conservative government. Later in the week, that same call came out from the Winnipeg Free Press, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun. Newspapers should take a political stand, but unlike the larger papers mentioned above, it’s the Banner publisher personally who takes the stand. The other papers hide the editorial writer behind an anonymous mask and, if necessary, individuals can wiggle away from the stand. In The Banner’s case, it’s my stand and mine alone, all staff are welcome to have their own opinion and they certainly do.
In his victory speech on Monday night, Prime Minister Harper said it one more time, “A strong, stable majority government.”
For the first time in over 60 years, the Canadian political field is clearly divided. It’s about time. The Liberal Party of Canada has muddied the water for so long that it’s refreshing to see two parties lined up and having a debate about the real issues. A debate about what they believe in and how they plan to accomplish it. Two generations of Canadians haven’t had that privilege, as the less than principled Liberal party has danced back and forth across the imaginary centre line of Canadian politics. Deciding what a Liberal stands for, except to get re-elected, has been a  ongoing puzzle.
In the book Laurier by Joseph Schull  published in 1965, Wilfred Laurier is reported to have said, “To my mind….the only way to defend our ideas and our principles is to make them known.” Wise words Sir Wilfred. It’s wisdom that should be adopted by every politician and to NDP leader Jack Layton’s credit, he told people what he believed in. A large number of voters believed him and accompanied by those who were simply sick of the Bloc Quebecois and who couldn’t follow the Conservatives, the voters gave him over 100 seats. The best total ever for the NDP by over double the previous records.
Clearly defined policies will win elections if given a chance. In Canada, we have been wagged around by the mainstream media tail for a long time. The media will say, “You can’t say this or you can’t say that, that’s not politically correct, or that’s not a wise thing to say.” The media doesn’t and shouldn’t run the country. Just go through the list of candidates. Media should report what is said and let the voter decide (each reporter really has only one vote). Guess what, the electors looked after that. Some got wiped out, but some won by huge majorities. How dare the media tell a candidate, “You can’t say that,” when the electorate turns around and elects or re-elects a candidate by huge majorities. The voters, given clear choices, will make clear choices.
And they have in the 2011 election. Harper will theoretically have four years of majority government. He can do whatever he wants, but he will be tempered by two clear restraints. One, Harper will be surrounded by people who want to get re-elected even if he doesn’t want to run in another election. Second, Harper will want to leave a legacy of something more than a burned bridges policy that any majority leader could leave. Harper’s majority government will be somewhat tempered by those two restraints.
There’s a lesson to be learned from the 2011 federal election for other levels of government. Both municipal and provincial governments should accept the advice of Sir Wilfred, advice that was so amply emphasized on Monday night. Tell people what you believe in and by doing so you can defend what you believe in. Time will serve you well, as time has served Laurier well.
An imperfect analogy is that, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything”. Another one is, “If you spend too much time in the middle of the road, you get run down by traffic going both ways”. Another, even more imperfect analogy is, “God hates a coward”. Well, God doesn’t hate anyone, but He does honour those who honour Him. When people elect God-honouring governments, He honours the people. As Prime Minster Harper has said many times as he quotes from our anthem, “God keep our land, glorious and free.”

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