Some thoughts on Election 2011, week one and a bit:
1) Why are there not more leader debates? I am not that old but I remember at least two English-Language debates between Mulroney, Turner and Broadbent in ’88. I think there was two in ’93 as well. Why now only one in English and one in French? We need to see more debate between the credible (see point 2) leaders because if we’re basing our votes on how well these three have played in the schoolyard called The House of Commons, they are all in trouble.
2) Rules for who can be in a debate. Federalist parties with MP’s elected in more than one province at the time of House dissolution. That means no Elizabeth May of the Elizabeth May party and no Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois. LizzyMay is a no brainer. The Green Party is not a party of green-type eco-hippy nuts, it has become a party who’s sole purpose is to elect LizzyMay. So let the “greens” try to elect her in the riding where she is running, yet again, foolishly against a cabinet minister. When she starts doing things that normal parties do like cross the country, touring ridings, mainstreeting with candidates in other ridings besides her own, then let her in if she meets the criteria in the above point. Until then, good luck unseating Gary Lunn.
As for Gilles Duceppe. I like him. I think he would make a strong leader of a party, if that party wasn’t hell-bent on breaking off a part of Canada and also getting the rest of Canada to keep giving it goodies too. He does not meet the criteria in point one from above, so out he goes. Now I used to know a few people in Brockville who would have loved to be the Bloc Quebecois candidate in Eastern Ontario but that doesn’t sound quite right to do. Be a regional party, suck on the Canadian teet and get your Canadian pensions so that you can blather on about how bad Canada is.
3) Where are all the nut jobs and crazy people? I’ve been watching in some area ridings and so far we only have Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green candidates… In some cases the NDP are still AWOL. Where’s the bible-thumpers, commies, feminists and alien-conspiracy guys wanting monitary reform. Elections are all about the crazy people and I want to see them. I know, it’s only week one but come on… there’s only seven weeks to campaign!
4) I watched the At Issue panel on The National on the Rich-man’s NPR Wednesday night. The talking heads were all making good points but Allan Greig made one of the best ones, this is the “Social Media” election. He’s probably right, but I hope not. We’ve gone from an engaged society where people looked at the issues to the 30 second sound bite, to the 15 second sound bite and now 140 character msgs. OMG LOL WTF?
Some people say this social media stuff “enables people to communicate more real-time”. I say, keep your thoughts to yourself until you can string more than two of them together to have something meaningful to say.
5) Democracy. It’s one of those things that makes us Canadian. A parliamentary-tradition that forged our country. I’ve made this point before but I will reiterate it here. I live in Ontario so my numbers are based on that. We are having our fourth federal election in seven years. In the same period of time we have also had one provincial election and are going to have another this year, plus we’ve had two municipal elections. That’s EIGHT elections total in that seven year period. We are so fortunate, yet I have heard so many people complain, right down to our elected leaders, that they don’t want an election. An election is too much work, a waste of money, too much of a bother, who cares?
We should all care.
Ask a citizen of Egypt who sat for two weeks protesting in Tahrir Square if they’d like to have eight elections in seven years and see what their answer is. I believe they would not think its too much of a bother to vote or be engaged.