Thoughts on this Canadian Election
Interestingly, this election was called while we were in Vancouver, and we followed along in Southern Ontario, then Northern Alberta, and now back to the field. Because of this I've had extra time to listen to good debate on the radio, but I've been frustrated by a lack of good discussion on the radio, or television for that matter, over the issues and the party platforms. More and more its just about spin and attack and "I don't want to participate with your discussion just because..."
So here I sit, in rural Alberta (where the conservatives have ruled since Alexander the Great decided to go on holiday to India.) My vote will have little consequence, whether for the Conservatives, the Liberals, or the New Democratic Party.
After this election race, these are my conclusions.
From their TV commercials I know that the Liberal leader is sleazy and un-Canadian, and so is his wife and father. Policies? What policies? FAIL.
From different Radio interviews, more than from any other party, I've heard; "We contacted the -Conservative leader, / the local Conservative party member, / the local Conservative member of parliament, who has declined to participate in this round table discussion.
FAIL. You want my vote? Then be available.
Mostly however, with the Conservatives I'm concerned with their understanding of the PMO, the Prime Ministers Office. They seem to have a more exalted sense of that office, much like the President of the United States approach. They have worked to limit press access, and seem to run a type of "My way or the highway," sort of politics. I don't like that at all.
I vote for parliament, more specifically I vote for a Member of Parliament. I don't get to vote for the leader, so I want that leader to work together with parliament to accomplish some good for this country. In fact I want him or her to be a shining example of leadership working together, SERVING the people, not creating levels of separation from them. Work with the people Canadians send to Ottawa, and at least respect the varied opinions of who we send to work with you. Your government fell because of a charge of being in Contempt of Parliament. That would land you an "F" in the "Works well with others" category.
And for Peters sake watch who you invite into your inner circle to gain influence with you. Be more careful who you give access to, in terms of unelected individuals with a nasty history. When you are caught red handed, you should resign as a matter of course out of respect for the institution and people you serve. You need to start getting this right because if you forget your position, remember 1993 when you dropped from an absolute majority of seats to only two seats. That was the worst electoral disaster in Canadian history, and it happens.
While I have voted Conservative in the past, this bunch is really making me take a second look at the other options. I don't like this flavour of bossy conservatism.
Not a badly run campaign, but your leader, and how you decided he would be a good choice, what was the thinking there? I know he had to rebuild the party and work elsewhere, but for a party leader who believes in the process, I'm surprised that Michael Ignatieff missed 58% of the house votes.
I also know that the Conservative strategy was to attack your party leader, like it did successfully with the previous party leader, but you failed to show me something better. Your leadership approach just hasn't inspired me to believe in you, and quite honestly your in house antics in choosing and supporting a Liberal leader doesn't fill me with confidence that you have it together enough to do a responsible job.
Honestly I'm kinda nervous that after this election you will respond with a jerky knee and replace Mr. Ignatieff with Mr. Trudeau thinking that a quick face change and a youth movement will solve all your problems. But it won't. You need to deal with the seeds planted by Mr. Chretien and how he dealt with Mr. Martin, and how they led the party. It will take a strong, building sort of a leader to dig into the foundations a bit and build up something good and worthwhile. And that will take some time, from a good leader. But if you do it well, and with integrity, I think you'll stand a great chance down the road. Especially with a younger generation.
I have voted Liberal in the past but I'm not sure they have it in them this time to give us good leadership.
The Jack Layton Party otherwise known as The New Democratic Party
We here in Canada are reading that the polling is indicating that this third or fourth position party in federal politics is suddenly moving into a position of respect by voters and may end up forming the loyal opposition. Wow. I never saw that coming. (Which is being repeated by political pundits across the land.)
No, it isn't all about the almighty dollar and there are more things at stake here like people and how we watch out for one another. I actually agree with you.
Your leadership seems to have made a strong impact in the political realm, and what, your strongest support is coming from women and young people under the age of 35? That is some demographic to attract. Well done that.
Is this sudden shift in polling the result of young people stepping up into their place in society and voting? Is it that the Liberals and Conservatives have been so busy flinging mud at each other that you've come up the side relatively clean? I'm not sure, but the prospect of new blood in Ottawa is refreshing.
You don't seem to be in the back pockets of the unions any longer, at least since these times have been changing. And you've had some good provincial examples of strong leadership, fiscally and otherwise. Roy Romanow in Saskatchewan, and Gary Doer in Manitoba seem to have done ok by their people.
Yet you are untested, nationally at least. You haven't had to work within the pressures of leading a country or leading the loyal opposition. All we have is your track record to date, and I suppose a vision that has drawn the attention of Canada's next generation.
I have voted NDP in the past, and I might just be in a mood to see what happens to this tired, mud specked Parliament if some new faces were seen. Of course I had great hope for the fresh faces of the Reform Party too, before they joined the Progressive Conservatives to form the Conservative Party.
This party located only in Quebec, was born with the agenda of having Quebec separate from the rest of Canada, and now presses for Quebec interests in Ottawa.
It seemed that early in this election campaign they were doing well, however the party leader, Gilles Duceppe, has recently been frustrated by the polls showing the party to have a growing disconnect with voters.
This encourages me. Having a regional party that only represents the interests of it's own part of Canada seems to be a vision that is too narrow. I believe that the younger generations are less about actual land boundaries and more see themselves as citizens of the world. They have less and less interest in sustaining their own little country.
This is the one party I have never voted for before, simply because I don't live in Quebec and they don't run candidates elsewhere in Canada.
The Green Party
Though their leader Elizabeth May, is articulate and has some good ideas, they have yet to develop a platform that is broad enough to include the nations interests. I also don't believe they run candidates in each riding.
Although I believe I voted for them once, it was more of a frustration vote against the status quo than it was for the Green Party. Besides, I live in rural Alberta and there are no Green Party candidates here.