Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Chilly Reception

Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.
- Alan Corenk

Okay, I lied. This is another political post, but it's not anti-Obama. In fact, it has nothing to do with the US, as it's Canadian politics!

As I've stated, we now have FIVE viable federal parties in my fair country. The fifth, the Green Party, just got their first seat in Parliament. A Liberal MP (Member of Parliament) left the party amid accusations of campaign finance shenanigans. He was cleared of any wrongdoing and joined the Greens. Not exactly the most democratic means of getting a seat, but hey, an election is coming in a month anyway.

But the other parties refuse to let the Green leader, Elizabeth May, to participate in the upcoming televised leadership debates.

Point being - the current Prime Minister's own party, the Reform Conservatives once had but ONE seat when they were the Reform party. They got invited to the debates back then. Giles Duceppe, the leader of the Bloc Québécois can go to the debates, even though his party can only be voted for IN QUEBEC, its mandate is to separate Quebec from the rest of the country, and looks out only for the interests of that one province, not the whole country.

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP (New Democratic Party) threatened to boycott the debates if May was invited. Rumour is that Stephen Harper did too. Duceppe didn't threaten a boycott, but did say that he supported only the other four parties taking part, since the Green hadn't had someone ELECTED into Parliament yet.

Stephane Dion, leader of the Liberals, was the only one who supported inviting May. This is because they're supposedly in bed together. They've agreed to not run candidates in their respective ridings (ie.- no Greens in Dion's own riding, no Liberals in May's). They have similar platforms and beliefs as well. So the other leaders felt that the Liberals would be getting essentially a second candidate in the debates.

Personally, I think it's cowardly of the other leaders. Elected or not, the Greens have a representative in government (even if he may never get a chance to sit as a Green, since Parliament won't reopen until the election is done). May's an environmental lawyer, Harper has a Masters of Economics, Duceppe and Bachelor of Arts, Layton has a PhD in Political Science, and Dion has a Masters in Political Science... in other words, May should be able to wipe the floor with all of them in a debate. She'd hammer Harper on the environmental issues his party keeps fucking up.

Layton is afraid that the debate would catapult the Green into more power, and they're take seats directly from the NDP, weaking his power even further.

Duceppe? He just wants more airtime.

Then again, with 4 leaders shouting at each other, the debates are pretty pointless already. Not that a 5th would hurt any more.

I voted for the Greens a few elections back, because I thought they had some good ideas, and could use every vote they could get. I knew they couldn't possibly achieve any power, but they'd be a good voice to have in the mix. Then I read up on their leader at the time and realized what fucking crooked tool he was. With May taking over, I had my faith restored a bit. Look up her Wikipedia entry and you'll see a woman who has actually DONE things she believes in her life. Oh, and she was born in Connecticut, go figure.

It's odd. In the States, there are 3 presidential candidates that offer something. If you're a McCain, Obama, or Nader supporter, you can make arguments that make sense on why you'd back that candidate. Sure, there's a ton of bullshit that goes along with all of them, but I can see why they'd get votes. Here in Canada, the leaders are boring, uninspiring, and unfocused. Their plans all ring hollow and sound stupid. I've been protest voting for at least 3 elections now (Green, NDP, NDP)- picking the parties who have the social platforms I most approve, just so they can have a voice in government.

And for the record - I was a die-hard Conservative supporter back in the days of the PROGRESSIVE Conservative party. Once the Reform took over as the right-wing option, I lost all interest in them and ther biggoted, back-asswards beliefs. The Liberals have been do-nothing government for their entire existence (back to the founding), taking credit for the policies of the previous regime. The Bloc wants to split up the country. The NDP would tax us even more than we currently are, and destroy our economic strength to go hog-wild with their admittedly noble goals... except they're big union supporters, and I have VERY little use for unions. The Greens have pie-in-the-sky ideals, but I think they're a voice that needs to be heard in an attempt to open the eyes of those in power.

Which is why I'm such a strong believer in our current minority government structure. None of the parties have a solid enough platform or set of beliefs to rule effectively, and none of have a leader capable of righting their respective ships. I'll gladly take an amalgam of them, although these days I'd much rather see a Liberal government, leaning on the NDP and Greens for support, which would force watered-down (read: economically viable) versions of their plans into practice. If they step too far out of line, then the Conservatives and Bloc have the power to dissolve parliament and force another election. Saving 1 or 2% on my taxes is hardly worth the cost of my soul.

One day we might get someone with some charisma and leadership ability at the reigns, which will force the other parties to step up accordingly.

Or maybe one day I'll run as a benevolent dictator.


Fuel55 said...

Don't get me started ...

katitude said...

I still have a T shirt from the last debacle, errrr, election: Rick Mercer for PM.

But I rather like the idea of Astin as Benevolent Dictator.

At least we'd all eat well.