Monday is Federal Election Day and I am worried. Voters are fickle and the tide is changing. There is a lot of anger out there and our elections are beginning to look like those in the United States. Messy and mean, with a lot of shit slinging. Watching Donald Trump pretend to be a statesman for four years has shown a lot of extreme right wing Canadians that they can do certain things and get away with it. Things like throwing gravel at the Prime Minister (really people grow up) and shouting derogatory remarks about his family and sexist remarks about his wife during a public appearance. (Honestly, is that really a way to make a point.)
Canada has three main political parties, with a couple of fringe parties off to the side or residing in single provinces. However, only the Left-to-center-left Liberals and the right-to-center-right Conservatives have ever formed a government in this country. The NDP or New Democratic Party has been around for years and, at times, has given these two other parties a run for their money and can certainly split the vote. But the chances of them getting to run the country are slim. Not because they are not good people or don’t have the qualifications for the job but because the “old-stock Canadians” (an insulting Conservative phrase used by former Prime Minister Stephan Harper) and there are a lot of them out there, would never vote to have a turban-wearing Prime Minister no matter how educated or well-spoken. That is just a sad truth. And because older Canadians vote in large numbers and younger Canadians abstain in large numbers, it is going to be a while before this will happen. I am very proud that my son, JT, believes in the importance of voting.
So this leaves the Liberals and the Conservatives. Both have been around since Canada’s inception in 1867. There is an election approximately every four years and so every four to eight years the government totally flips and the other political party gets to play house for a while. Now I will admit that I am a Trudeau fan. I was also a fan of his father, former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau; but Justin has pissed off a few people and then called an election half way through his second mandate figuring he could ride the help-out-everyone-during-the-pandemic wave to another successful election win. I have my doubts about this.
So why am I worried? It is quite possible that we could have an Conservative Federal government soon and everyone has forgotten what they did the last time round, and very few have dug that deep into their current platform to see what they plan for this time round. And although I have not really dug deep into it myself, there are certain things that keep me from wanting the Conservatives in power.
The last time they were in, they muffled scientists and trucked away and destroyed decades of scientific research. They shut down an important scientific study lab in the the Arctic and denied climate change.
Their current platform is to reduce climate change strategies back to what they were when they were last in office. They have stated that they wouldn’t meet Canada’s new UN climate target, which is to reduce emissions by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Conservatives have said they will meet the objectives that were set up by the last Conservative government. (Well boys, that was over six years ago and things have changed. The climate crisis is real.)
Whenever the Conservatives are in the running, the topic of women’s rights and abortion always come up. Erin O’Toole is playing it safe by saying he is pro choice and that he personally will not put the discussion back on the table, but if someone else (usually it’s someone in in the Conservative party) wishes to, his party members will be able to vote as they want on this one. He also plans to protect the “conscience rights” of health care professionals who object to such procedures. A little hypocritical in my opinion because women need these health care professionals for such procedures. How can a woman get an abortion when her doctor won’t refer her for one? Believe me, this is what can happen in a country where there is a doctor shortage, and it is difficult to change doctors or get a new one. As a woman who has had an abortion in the past and knows the difficulty involved, this worries me. Women have so much more to lose during election time and need to get out and vote. In a blink of an eye things can change. Just look at Texas.
The Conservatives play dirty. They have been using nasty advertising techniques for years. They are the reason why it is now so freely done in this country. I always remember this story told by Justin Trudeau about his father Pierre. Justin was just a kid when his father was Prime Minister and he was having lunch with him somewhere on the hill when the leader of the Conservative opposition sat down at another table. That was the Honourable Robert Stanfield, a Nova Scotian who led the party for several years. Justin being a smart-ass kid made some kind of smart-ass remark about Robert Stanfield and his father was not happy about it. He told Justin (not in these exact words because I don’t remember the exact words) that it is one thing to criticize a man’s policies, but you never attack the man. Then he took Justin over and introduced him to Robert Stanfield. I never forgot that story because it displayed a dignity and respect that you don’t often see in politics. It is something I would like to see more of.
There are other reasons why I am worried about this election outcome, but these are the ones that I am most passionate about. In the interest of not boring everyone to death with Canadian politics, I will end this here. My final words on this is do your homework and get out and vote. Doing nothing will accomplish nothing.
Thanks for reading
Photo: Jenn Stone