Nov 172009

Concerned that Canada’s Conservative Party might win a clear majority in parliament in the next elections, some political commentators began offering ideas on how to prevent this from happening, how to defeat Stephen Harper and his government.

I am not interested in anyone telling me how I can stop the Conservatives. I don’t want to stop anybody. I want to vote FOR something, not against; I’d like to live in a country in which people from different political backgrounds can work together, as opposed to working to defeat one another. Let’s leave divisive partisanship to the Sarah Palins of this world.

What I’d like to be able to do is to vote for a party that tells me how they will actually govern and make things better. For instance, how they will:

  • Balance the need to balance budgets with the need to use public funds to help the economic recovery.
  • Formulate an intelligent policy concerning Afghanistan, not dogmatic deadlines (no “bring the troops home” populism but a policy that tells us what goals we’re trying to achieve there, why they’re achievable, and how they will be achieved).
  • Fix Canada’s broken immigration system before we have to institute visa requirements for everyone just in case they claim refugee status here and manage to stay in the country for years while they wade through an antiquated and underfunded process.
  • Examine the need for copyright reform (which may not even be necessary) that represents the interests of Canadians as opposed to secretly negotiated reforms like ACTA that are designed to turn everyone into a potential criminal for the sake of maximizing Disney’s profits.
  • Address those social issues that prevented Canada from staying on the #1 spot in the UN quality-of-life lists.
  • Address the need for a national infrastructure: for instance, an east-west electricity grid, an east-west highway network that is more appropriate for a first-world country (I just read an interesting article about this topic yesterday), and more domestic energy production, including a shift away from fossil fuels and towards nuclear, if necessary (I know my physics and I don’t duck-and-cover every time someone utters the word “uranium”).
  • Perhaps tax reform, considering the idea of eliminating the income tax in favor of an increase in the GST, since it’s fairer, can be graduated to reflect public policy (e.g., reduced GST on essentials, higher GST on luxury items or items with a high environmental cost), MUCH easier and cheaper to administer, and removes a gross intrusion into privacy that income tax returns represent.
  • Electoral reform that might include direct election of the head of government (like the US presidential elections; indeed, it’s not a shame to copy something if it happens to be a good idea), fully separating executive and legislative powers; no mandatory party-line votes, since MPs should represent their district, not their party leader; and runoff elections to prevent vote-splitting.
  • Last but not least, in this security-conscious high-tech era, strengthened guarantees of individual rights and freedoms, yes, even if it means taking some security risks, as I’d much rather be free than safe.

OK, I’ll get off the pulpit now. The one thing I’m NOT interested in is defeating anybody. One defeats enemies, not fellow Canadians who happen to have a different opinion about some political topics.

 Posted by at 11:48 am