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.