News & Opinion

The Maven’s Election Diaries: Nothing happening

In Election diaries, The Maven on April 18, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Image credit: screen captures from televised Federal Leadership Debate 2011

By The MavenI haven’t posted anything for a while about the federal election. It’s just not happening for me. We started off with some sparks but the past week has been really dull.

The Conservative ads have now turned to “the vision”. There is Harper talking about what Canada is and can be. Only problem is that beyond a strong military and lots of jails, he really doesn’t have anything to say. He doesn’t like government, except when using it to try to buy votes. His whole economic plan–until the opposition forced him to take action–is essentially to do nothing. His ‘stay the course’ really means ‘let things go’. He is an old-fashioned laissez-faire capitalist (again, unless he can buy power with targeted spending).

But if any leader has a vision, I think Harper’s vision of a more militaristic, conservative, individualist nation is the most clearly expressed. It’s unpalatable but it is there.

So the Conservative campaign is really a boring old hash of nothing with a small dash of something rotten.

And the press coverage? We keep hearing that the Conservatives will only allow reporters four questions per day. Wow, where is the press on that issue? Nowhere. I would have thought this incredible assault on democracy would be in the news daily. Where is the reporter writing the Prime Minister once again refused to answer questions. That would be headline news every day if I ran a media outlet.

The NDP feel they can smell power…well, power of the sort the NDP refers to. They think they are within reach of Official Opposition status.

But where once there was an NDP vision of a just and more egalitarian Canada, there are now only families and targeted programs. Now, I don’t really blame them. When I was younger I railed against the NDP for not remaining true to the concept of a movement and not just another political party. As I have grown older I realize the usefulness of a party on the left that actually seeks to attain power even if it means watering down some policy. It’s easy to criticize progressive parties for the compromises they make to get elected.

I suppose the alternative is to keep shouting from the sidelines but I don’t find that terribly useful and neither does the NDP. But I still can’t help but feel that there has to be something more to the peoples’ party. Is this all it’s come to: tax deductions?

The Liberals, now there is a letdown as well. Not because I think they would change the world. It’s really because I’m afraid the Conservatives would change the world. That’s why I am so concerned about the Liberal Party. Who else can stop the Conservatives?

The Liberals owe it to Canadians to not be so stupid. Where once they had a brains trust, there now seems to be no one at the helm. It is interesting to think about what a Liberal government might look like. Except for Iganatieff who is on the conservative side of the party, there are a number of NDP types who would be in any cabinet. Think of Bob Rae, Gerard Kennedy, Ujjal Dosanjh, Ken Dryden. These are people who could easily be in the NDP and who do, I think, have a vision of a better Canada.

But, alas, a Liberal government is not to be. And that is partly because the left, unlike the right, have refused to co-operate, but also because the politicians, the press and we Canadians have let the Conservatives define democracy for us. I mean how many parliamentary democracies have majority governments today? New Zealand, the United Kingdom and almost every European country have coalition governments. Canada has a long history of minority government either nationally or provincially. So majority governments which used to be the norm in Canada, are certainly not usual globally.

Yet Stephen Harper, with the acquiescence of a docile press, has convinced us that parties representing over 60% of the vote do not have the right to govern… either in coalition or co-operation. Just how can it be that this ahistorical and constitutionally incorrect interpretation of parliamentary democracy can have won the day?

Why does our press ape Harper’s pronouncements without question? Why do they accept his isolation and lack of accountability without ridiculing him over it?

Maybe it’s time to ask the press some questions. But first, let’s do whatever we can to keep this clown Harper out of a majority government.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In Election Diaries, The Maven comments on the leaders, the parties, the issues and the campaigns for Canada’s 41st federal election.

Read more of The Maven’s Election Diaries at www.tomaven.wordpress.com.

For past articles by The Maven on the West Annex News, visit The Maven archive.

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