Sunday, January 15, 2006

Throw the rascals out

While a majority of Canadians may well be dissatisfied with the performance of the current Liberal government, it is important to note that most Canadians do not seem to be particularly dissatisfied with the Liberal platform. As I have said before in a different context: it's not the "what", it's the "how" that Canadians take issue with. The Liberals have formed the government for so long because they kept getting elected and that only happens when voters prefer the Liberals to the alternatives. What has happened this time is cumulative -- they have over-stayed their welcome, they've become complacent and there are examples of corruption*. I think it's a case where the public wants to "throw the rascals out" but it doesn't really want to change much regarding policy.

While it might be nice if more voters agreed with my voting preferences, what I want even more is for people to make informed decisions when voting so as to elect the people who best represent them. What concerns me is that I see people, in their desire to "throw the rascals out", who are running the risk of voting in a government that they really don't want. All the "someone elses" in the world are not created equal. Voters may throw the baby out with the bath-water if they ignore their own principles and values in order to elect someone just so they can form a government that is not Liberal.

If the Conservatives are the people that you want forming the next government, then you should vote for them. But the Conservatives (or The Republican Lite Party, as I see them), when they honestly articulate their platform, do not represent the interests of most Canadians. For example, their positions on: closer ties with the Americans, changes to the health care system, gay-marriage, corporate taxation & regulation, the environment, CBC and on and on are all out of sync with those of most Canadians.

If you want to teach the Liberals a lessen, by all means, don't vote for them but do support a candidate or party that represents your principles and values, whether it's the NDP, Bloc, Green or whatever. That way, after the election, we will have a House full of people who really represent Canadians. I'm confident that this result would not be a Conservative majority. We would probably have fewer Liberals, more NDP, Bloc and Green and someone would have to form another minority government which would correctly represents the views of Canadians.

Last election the Liberals tried to scare Canadians into voting Liberal rather than Conservative. This time, I'm saying: don't buy into that Bush/Rove technique of manipulation by fear. Don't be afraid. Vote for something you believe in. But think it through. We've seen too many examples of people voting out of fear (usually without good reason) and getting a result that they ended up not wanting.

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* I hesitate to paint the corruption picture with too broad a brush. My experience is that corruption is an equal opportunity employer, not the purview of any particular party. Corruption is usually closely tied to having power so, to the extent that there was Liberal corruption, I think it should be seen as party-in-power corruption. I think that those who claim that corruption is uniquely Liberal are ignorant, naive or liars.

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