Potato, Patato.. Lets call the whole thing off

So, I admit, I am a politics geek. I studied it in University and got my degree in the ultimate of ‘degree’s that do not lead to real jobs’- the BA in Political Science.

Here is the sick thing about my politics addiction. It is an exercise in constant frustration. Every time I hear something about politics in Canada, my reaction is inevitably the same- what they hell are they thinking? I am an equal opportunity critic. If you are a political party or politician in Canada, I don’t like something about you. Likely, I don’t like most things about you.

Unless maybe your the Green Party…. I think I love Elizabeth May. But that is just because she has no power and therefore doesn’t do as many stupid things as the rest of them. (Also, she kept those boys in line at the debates in the last election. Go Elizabeth!)

Sure, I am basis. Certainly left of centre. But ultimately I do not see any political party in Canada that, once in power, would really do anything fundamentally different then any other political party.

Particularly our two parties ‘capable of forming a government’ (Sorry Jack, your chances just don’t look good, like, ever). Sure the Liberals and the Conservatives seem different. When not in power, the Conservatives talk to their base about social conservatism, small government and tax cuts. When the Conservatives were elected I was genuinely worried that they would pass major legislation that would end public health care or something. They didn’t. I am sure when the Liberals get elected again, right of center Canadians are going to worry that their taxes will go up and that Canada’s deficit will skyrocket. But if I remember correctly, Paul Martin as both the Federal Finance Minister and as the Prime Minister, wrote some of the most fiscally conservative budgets that Canada has ever seen.

I not saying that there is nothing at stake when voting. PM Stephen Harper has shown us new lows in terms of lack of government openness and accountability. He obviously doesn’t respect our system to even try to make parliament work. (And he was elected on a platform of ‘cleaning up Ottawa’ after multiple liberal scandals.) At this point I would prefer to hand Canada over to Ignatieff.

But, what I am saying is that there is not as much at stake when voting as it seems. I have no illusions that Ignatieff, if we hand him the reins of power, will not pass legislation that is fundamentally different then what we already have. Nor will he ‘clean up Ottawa’. Conservatives or Liberals, we will continue to trade off both the power and the inevitable getting themselves in to trouble with political scandal, cover-ups, broken election promises and failed legislation ect.. Potato, Patato.

In my imaginary dream world I think about how changing our electoral system would magically turn us into a functioning democracy. (Mixed Member Proportional representation please.) But its just a dream. And:

1) No one elected by our current electoral system would help pass a legislation that would make it harder for them to get elected next time

2) Even if we did have a shiny new electoral system, I am sure they would still find a way to be useless, lie and all do the same thing in the end anyway

Sigh. And yet I still pay attention. And read. And get frustrated. Oh well. We Canadians are not great history students are we? Or maybe we are just too nice, willing to compromise and hesitant to make any major changes. No wonder our voter turnout is so abysmal.


4 responses to “Potato, Patato.. Lets call the whole thing off

  1. smdcanada January 20, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I know. Canadian politics…I’m riveted, then appalled. Riveted, then appalled. Most days it seems we cannot win.

    Interesting piece by Andrew Coyne in McLeans, did you see? Oddly compelling argument on electoral reform. Got me all confused.

    p.s. I’m a poli-sci grad too. UBC

    • amoment2think January 21, 2010 at 7:17 am

      Yes, I did see that article but I had to re-read it when you mentioned it. I can’t tell if he is being sarcastic or not. I am not sure what to make of it either. He has a point about parliament not working… but I would rather try to get parliament to work then get rid of it altogether.

      Lol- Poli sci grads seem magically drawn to each other! I think most of us that don’t work directly in politics have the same “riveted, then appalled” reaction, but we are brainwashed to not look away. I studied at SFU.

  2. Sophie January 20, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    I agree with you, but I think there is one field in which there could have been a major difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals: the environment. Granted, I don’t think the Liberals would have done MUCH more than the Conservatives. They still know who has the money. But I DO think they would at least stop going backwards that much. Although it may just be naivete or wishful thinking.

    Great blog, I look forward to reading more!

    • amoment2think January 21, 2010 at 6:59 am

      Thanks! I would like to think you are right on that point. I really, really would. But last time the Liberals were in office they didn’t do so well by the environment, so I am not so sure. I think this is one of those issues that when they are not in power they talk a good talk, but then as soon as they taste the oh so sweet power of the PMO, the resolve goes out the window. I really hope I am wrong.

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