Thoughts on the Canadian Election 2006

January 20, 2006

I read through the Wednesday edition of the National Post today and paid particular interest to some of the commentary about the election. Here are some of my thoughts as we near the end (election day is Monday for you Americans not in the know):

  1. After having been immersed in American culture during their election in 2004 and living in the political environment afterwards for seven months, the Canadian elections are so boring. This isn’t a bad thing for the most part – I’m glad that our attack ads seem to have been created by 90 year olds who have just woken up to the world around them. American elections are surrounded by negativity; Canadian ones are surrounded by sleeping giants. No one seems to pay attention to the events of the day with our elections because they tend to be so dry. I would hate to be a national writer following the campaigns looking up from their doodles on their pads thinking, “Health care, again?”
  2. You could summarize the campaigns of the three national parties, one minor party, and the Bloc Quebecois (which operates only in Quebec) as such:

    Liberals: Don’t vote for the Conservatives. DO NOT VOTE CONSERVATIVE! They are AMERICANS. They are BAD!!! Oh yeah, and the NDP blow, too. Note Bien: BQ est mauvais.
    Conservatives: You can’t trust the Liberals. It is time for change. Who cares if we may ruin the country, we are different!
    New Democratic Party (NDP): Liberals are evil. EVIL. E-V-I-L. Your worst nightmare EVER. Be scared of them. Piss your pants scared of them. But we aren’t in it to be leaders, we will work with whomever gets into power for the working class people and ensure healthcare stays public and we will be honest, but remember the important part: Liberals are evil, so vote Conservative if you don’t like us either.
    Greens: Psssst… we’re still here, if you want to vote for us…
    BQ: Eh, dos Liberals are, how do you say, EVILLE. Vive Quebec! Blame Canada! Blame Canada! Wid allll der beady litow eyes / Und flappin’ heeds so full of lies.*

  3. How did Canada allow healthcare to become the issue at hand? I don’t think Canadians care how healthcare happens as long as a) it’s free for when they can’t afford otherwise, and b) it works. The National Post had a poll saying over 60% of Canadians believed a duo healthcare system with both public and private sections would be good for the country. Where’s the debate over that? We don’t need politicians to decide how it should work, we need CEOs and doctors to make the best system possible. We need more doctors, more nurses, more access to hospitals and quick, quality care. That’s it, so quit arguing about it already.
  4. I wonder what’s a more predictable action: Conservatives saying they’ll cut taxes and give you more money, NDP saying they won’t cut taxes but you’ll be better off, or the Liberals playing the ‘NDP can’t help you, so vote Liberal’ card. I’m thinking it’s the Liberal scare tactics.
  5. I love how Canadian papers and media talk about the battlegrounds of the campaign, like the ridings within Ottawa are the BIGGEST DEAL. Canada is not based upon how one riding was decided, it’s decided as a whole. Well, okay, it’s really decided by the time the polls start to close west of Ontario, but I’m thinking this year may actually go down to the wire to declare a winner. Conservatives are up in the polls, people dislike the Liberals, the BQ is becoming scared in Quebec, and the NDP may just pick up enough seats here or there to be a player in Parliament. Needless to say, how one city votes is not the deciding factor in an election. It’s not quite like the American election which can be won or loss with how a few states vote. The day the Canadian election is decided on how the Yukon voted is the day I die.
  6. There’s an article in the Post talking about how some current MPs may be better off to just lose rather than win their ridings. The big name is Belinda Stronach, and how her returning to her father’s company (Magna) will be much more pleasant than sitting in the House of Commons being attacked by her former party members. I don’t want to get into too much depth about this issue, but this article gave the tone of how the readers should feel sympathetic towards these people and not vote for them. Their lives will be much better outside of Ottawa than inside. The problem is, their ridings may be served better by having these people in Parliament than outside of it. We have to remember that we aren’t just voting for a party we want to win, but the MP who is going to represent us there. Having people like Stronach, and other current/former Cabinet ministers will have more sway with how the government treats their ridings. If we truly wanted to be concerned with how well candidates would be without a job in Parliament, we should probably be voting NDP or Greens. Let’s face it: they could use the ego boost.

How I’d like things to play out (308 seats in total):

Conservative minority (140), with NDP (50) and BQ (60) seats, with the Liberals getting around 40-50. The NDP and BQ have a lot of common ground and would be a good balancing force towards the Conservative government. Canada would get the change it demanded, be more fiscally conservative while still remaining socially progressive. It would be the best for both worlds. We’d cut taxes, still retain same-sex marriage and abortion rights, increase spending on the military without increasing the number of missions, and adapt a reasonable solution to the health-care problems. We’d see the plans and possible implementation of a national daycare (based upon Quebec’s version which keeps Quebec happy), better trade relations with China, India, and the European Union, while strengthening ties with the United States again. The economy will continue to grow stronger, the dollar will improve, job creation will go up, and Canada will be put back into the top spot of best country to live in in the world.

What will most likely happen:

Conservative majority (160+), Liberals (<90), BQ (30-40), NDP (18-25). Canada won’t be as progressive as it has been in recent years and risks backtracking on a lot of advances it had made. Hopefully, the Conservatives will be conservative and not try to change things too dramatically and respect that Canada only wants a change in power, and not lose anything they currently hold onto. A lot of things mentioned above will happen, with the exception being Canada’s increased military role in the world. We won’t be a super-power, but we’ll be in a better position to help nations with peace-keeping missions. We’ll be the UN’s personal army. And will most likely be in Iraq within five years, not to help the US Army, but to keep the peace like they have been doing in Haiti and Kosovo.

We’ll find out in just over 72 hours.

*Apologies to Quebec, Metis, Francophones, and South Park.

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