Sunday, March 27, 2011

Canada heads into an election

The charm of Canadian politics is that we can go to a Federal election any time a vote of non-confidence is held and failed. Not so charming is most Canadians confuse Canadian politics with US politics. It happens with laws too. In spite of strict gun control, people wanted even more in the aftermath of the  Ecole Polytechnique Massacre in the late 80s.

The main way our system is different than the US system is we vote for a party not the Prime Minister. Yet not all parties field candidates in all Ridings (Bloc anyone?) and it's frequently difficult to find a respected candidate in an area that leans heavily in one direction (Quebec, the prairies). Peeps moving into politics have to very dynamic, have a strong civic record that doesn't just rely on the success of the current government and be very community spirited. And they have to be strong enough to choose a party that isn't necessarily the winning one.

Case in point is Ralph Klein. Here is a politician that had very liberal policies yet chose to join the Conservative Party. Most people were amazed. He did do a lot of Conservative things, that as usual mostly affected women. Things like cutting welfare to the bone, rolling back public employees by 10% - teachers, admin, nurses (effectively by 20% since the union cut 10% through voluntary retirement etc. in an effort to assist) but I think it could have been much worse. As usual he did a lot of things that helped business which ends up not as bad since business hadn't figured out the jobless recovery thing.

Moving to the Federal stage, we have Harper (Conservative) and Ignatieff  (Liberal) squaring off with Layton (NDP) able to influence policy as the strongest 3rd party. I would love to meet my Liberal candidate but I probably won't since this is a very strong Conservative riding. Same with the NDP rep. It would make a difference to me. Although right now, the only PM candidate I would vote for now is Harper or Layton I am voting for a Member.

And why wouldn't I vote for Ignatieff even though the Liberals have done great things for Canada? He's spent way too much time in the US (over half his life) Even though it was at a liberal private Uni, the US version of liberalism is way right of Canadian Conservatism. I grew up in NDP BC yet, because I moved to a Conservative province I find myself influenced by conservative truisms unless I am careful. Am I going to support someone who had been embedded in an affluent US lifestyle? At least Harper lives in a normal home in a reasonably affordable neighbourhood.

I want the minority government to function in way that promotes the best of all the party ideals not stupid posturing and wasteful spending on voting. By all means promote open government and bring forward things that could change our culture (like more prisons when we have less crime) but you can do that best during sessions.