In Canada there is an election on. It will go for sometime, I already tire of it. Like most of my friends I have no love for government of British Columbia, or the current federal administration. It took a few things for the frustration to hit a level where I had to do my own ranting. The first trigger was that wasteful and counter productive transit plebiscite. It proved that if asked to vote for a tinny tax increase for their own good enough people would reject a sensible plan. My anger at the plebiscite was not the result but that it happened.
My knowledge of the mechanics of Canadian politics is simplistic and limited, but enough to highlight why bringing things to a vote was a bad idea. The fundamental is this is a representative democracy. MLA's and MP's are elected to represent an area, to vote in the interest of the residences of that region. There is the assumption that in taking on a portfolio the representative will gain enough specialization on that topic to make informed and balanced plans.
The plebiscite was a government shedding its responsibility by turning a complex matter over to the public. I honestly want the government to be making infrastructure investments, and I know full well that there is demand for transit. Now they can not beheld to account for their failure to represent because they turned it over the masses.
I came here to have words on the federal election. Having vented about the transit vote my brain now has the resources to take on the national situation. Canada has been under the rule of a bland pseudo-dictator for at least 10 years. The list of things done that anger me is as long as my arm, your own list may be longer still. We are in desperate need of a change of government. From the trickle of news that passes through to me it looks like that desire is wide spread. That same news trickle irritates me with endless comparisons of the standings of the leaders of the three national parties, a tiresome aspect of modern politics.
I believe I was taught at a young age that your vote should be given to the candidate who can best represent your riding. The resulting government would be cobbled together out of the missmash of elected members. Sadly in the age of televised and internet news, Riding level politics gets lost under noise from from the nation scene. This fails the electorate, that’s you the ones eligible to vote, because it leads voting for the national brand in place of judging the local candidate by what they bring in for you. If you are lucky the party whip will lay off enough for your representative to vote in your interest not just their parties.
What got me to write this and what made me release I hated this election almost before it began was a slide show from the Orange formally socialist party, attracting the leader to the Liberals for not supporting a $15/hour minimum wage for federally regulated employees. I am decidedly for a $15/hour minimum wage everywhere, and calling out your opponent’s stance on an important topic is fair play. No what drove me to anger was the style. It mirrored the „He’s just not ready“ attack adds that have been pounding my ears since before the election was called. I do not like this long bloody election, and that one of our best hopes for a new government is too willing to ape the nearly fascist incumbent.
In my bubble the election looks like this. The Conservatives draw all the attention to the Liberals, trying to ape the American meaningless binary. The NDP is attacking the Liberals and Conservatives, but aiming most the orange artillery at the blue fortress. Meanwhile the Greens are demanding a chance to be seen and heard at the national debates.
It is the Green Party that brings me to my final point of frustration. It was in the news this week that the Greens gained a third seat in the House of Commons. Included in his reasons for crossing the floor was the demand to follow the party line. The demand to vote for the party interest at all cost, damages your MP’s ability to represent your riding. And I can’t stand the notion of MP’s being stripped of autonomy and opinions. Yet that is becoming the new normal. Under the Harper regime his goons followed a tight script. This sets a precedent for his successors, form any party, govern from the top down, with the MP’s being vote casting machines.
I could hope that it would be a conservative habit. Linda McQuaid’s keep oil in the ground comment, and fuss that this known fact caused, one should doubt that policing of the MPs is isolated to one party. And this brings me back to one. This is a representative democracy, on paper. It is crippled by and endless focus on the national leaders, an antiquated ballot counting system, party whips, and too much America influence. I want to be able to vote for the person who stands out as the best voice New Westminster, not making a strategic vote in the hope of creating a change of government. I want that same representative to have the freedom to speak the truth, to stand up for what their riding demands is important, especially if that differs from the national parties view.
In writing this, in my head at work I realized something. As someone who is angered by Canada’s inaction on climate change, and addiction to Tarsands, and angered by relentless top down politics of the traditional national parties, I have little choice but to move closer to alinement with the Green Party. I am sure there are flaws in their platform but the others are a large collection of old Ideas. Heck Tom Mulclair basically admitted to believing in magic when he suggest we could mine the tarsands and reduce carbon emissions. You lost me then and there Mister.
Today was an angry day, and I was bored at work. This happened.