What Canadian politicians have forgotten

[It should go without saying that this is an opinion piece: my opinion. It may not be yours. Politically, I’ve been centre most of my life. Today? I genuinely don’t know.]

Alberta has entered another provincial election, our fifth since the beginning of the millennium (that’s every three years, on average). And in Alberta, a province of wealth and entitlement, that means the old guard fending off competitors who dare lay siege to the castle, replete with feces-slinging (we’re well past mere mud), ethically-laden promises, and scare tactics, from all sides.

Canada is also heading down the road to a federal election, which by schedule we will see this fall. We will likely see the same slinging and fearmongering, not only because the same mentalities are at play, but because we’ve been witnessing the preamble for several months, now.

And all of it has shown one thing: that our politicians have forgotten about Canadians.

Continue reading “What Canadian politicians have forgotten”

Canada’s Two Political Parties: Conservative, and Other

It’s Federal election time here in Canada. Which means it’s a fast-and-furious stream of incoherent messaging all tantamount to white noise as the various political figures attempt to sway Canadian passions (which are, at best, as politically frigid as Winnipeg in February).

Adding to all of this are, new to this run, a number of social media-style services all helping to add “information” (and likely being more like more noise to the signal) to help people align themselves with the political party of choice. I came across one, recently, and suddenly realised that despite the fact we have five major political parties vying for seats, they’re really only divided two ways.

Which means you either vote Conservative, or you don’t.

Continue reading “Canada’s Two Political Parties: Conservative, and Other”

Suggestions to our political “leaders”

We’re barely a week into the 2011 Canadian Federal election, and it already feels like a month. I suppose if there’s one good thing about elections up here, it’s that they’re short — none of this near-two year campaigning that goes on south of the border.

Already, the various political parties are … well, failing. I’m rather stunned how fast that happened, actually. You’d think they’d actually try to get out a message first, but they stooped to mud-slinging pretty much out of the gate. Yeah, real positive way to foster respect and attract voters, folks…

So I feel that, as a Canadian with some significant sense of civic duty (and certainly more than enough know-it-all-ism), I need to offer up some suggestions to our so-called “leaders” (read: I choose not to lay insults as they are neither interesting nor constructive) if they have any hope of inspiring Canadians to vote for them … if at all.

Continue reading “Suggestions to our political “leaders””

Dear Canada, grow a backbone!

Well, Canada, we’re in another pickle. The on-going “me, too!” power struggle that has dogged us for five years is now going into Round 3, thanks to a non-confidence (read: get enough people to whine the ruling party out of power) vote. In just over a month, we’re back at the polls, likely to do what we did last time, and the time before that: Make no decision whatsoever.

I dunno what it is, but we Canadians seem to really love to not rock the boat. We don’t want heavy-handed politics, but we also want our cake and eat it, too. We want our health care, dammit, but we don’t want to pay for it. We want to leave our lights on 24/7, but please don’t raise our energy bills. And above all, we still want to be the “Nice” people in North America.

Let’s face it, folks, we’re a bunch of pansies.

Continue reading “Dear Canada, grow a backbone!”

How to win the next Canadian federal election

Dear Honourable Michael Ignatieff MP,
I recently read a CBC article where you made public a video of Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper in less than a positive light (http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/09/10/ignatieff-harper-speech.html). The article, including references to the video and a few comments from yourself, aimed to effectively attack Rt. Hon. Harper’s character and credibility. While this action may very well be justified in terms of raising awareness to the Canadian public, I (and likely many other Canadians) see this only as a prelude to what will likely be the fourth federal election in as many years.
What you have before you is a problem, Hon. Ignatieff: you might be right, but Canadians are going to hate you for it. We’re going to hate you for doing exactly what every other politician running for a major office has done for the last quarter of a century: make the election personal.
Canadians pride themselves on multiculturalism. We happily point to the different patches of our country that identify themselves as being distinct and unique. These are not faults, but are facets of a jewel that would not shine any other way. Along with those facets come — as an absolute requirement — differing perspectives, attitudes, and personalities. In effect, it ensures that no two people will approach the same scenario in the same manner.
You must remove personalities from the equation. All that mudslinging achieves is to showcase pettiness and desperation. If all you have to bring up is someone else’s poor judgement, it makes us all wonder what you can bring to the table. It does not matter what Rt. Hon. Harper has personally said, regardless of how inflamatory those comments may be. Your position should be a higher one, not of a tattle-tale elementary schoolyard child, but of the correcting teacher who directs a class to overcome a poor decision.
The Conservatives have something in their favour that the Liberals do not: since coming into power in 2006, the Conservatives have not made any serious mistakes — things that would normally cause Canadians to vote differently. That is a level of inertia that the Liberals — and you, as their leader — need to overcome.
You have another inertia to overcome as well: Canadian political apathy. As you may recall, the 2008 federal election had the lowest turnout in Canadian history. If you wish to turn the tide, you have to encourage everyone not just to perform their civic duty, but be engaged in the direction of their country. That is a task that no Canadian political leader is willing to, at the risk of being attacked by the others. However, this is a risk you’ll need to take.
And you need to take that risk to the west. I’m sure you saw the electoral map from the previous election (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/72/Canada_2008_Federal_Election.svg) — the west is a sea of blue, and your party acquired only seven seats. Alberta, in particular, love their Conservatives — attacking Harper will only lend sympathy rather than turning a tide. You need to appeal to the Western Canadian, and have them feel that Western Canada is as important to Canada as Quebec has been in previous elections.
So, how? I don’t presume to preach to a politician, author, professor, and journalist. Instead, I would like to talk to you as a fellow Canadian. You don’t need to tell us what’s wrong with other politicians — you need to tell us what’s wrong with us, with our nation, with the things that we hold as dear and true to our identities as toques, beavers, hockey, and the maple leaf. And then inspire us to help repair those things, so that we become part of the solution, so we don’t just hand our problems to our government and expect everything to be fixed.
We do not need promises or assurances. We need truths, no matter how hard they might be to hear. We need to be told — plainly — what has to happen. We need to be told that even the difficult is possible, and that hope isn’t just a word. We need to believe. We need to want.
Ignore Rt. Hon. Harper. Ignore Hons. Duceppe, Layton, and May. Rise above them. Rise above the petty bickering. Make your message speak for itself, and speak to Canadians. Make us believe that you have a vision that means something more than merely acquiring office. If we are to go to the polls again, we have to know it’s for a good reason, and not because of a political spitting match. If you can bring faith back into Canadian politics, you may also bring greater enthusiasm and support.
Sincerely,
Geoff Sowrey

Dear Honourable Michael Ignatieff MP,

I recently read a CBC article where you made public a video of Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper in less than a positive light. The article, including references to the video and a few comments from yourself, aimed to effectively attack Rt. Hon. Harper‘s character and credibility. While this action may very well be justified in terms of raising awareness to the Canadian public, I (and likely many other Canadians) see this only as a prelude to what will likely be the fourth federal election in as many years.

What you have before you is a problem, Hon. Ignatieff: you might be right, but Canadians are going to hate you for it. We’re going to hate you for doing exactly what every other politician running for a major office has done for the last quarter of a century: make the election personal.

Continue reading “How to win the next Canadian federal election”

Is the world really dying to see results from the US election?

Maybe not the entire world, but certainly the wired world — the people online. All day, ever since I logged on, I’ve seen Tweets, blog posts, momentiles, and the like about people who are absolutely dying to see the results from the US election.  

Most of those people want to see Obama win. (Or at least those are the ones I’ve seen.)

I wonder, is this the most-watched election of all time (I say that because it likely is) due to Obama (and his chances of winning) or because of social networking bringing everyone out into the open?  

There’s a thesis in this, I’m sure…

Canada, you can blame Calgary

Sigh.

Well, thanks to the residents of Calgary Centre-North, Canada is now stuck with Jim Prentice again.  And I’m just too darned tired to rant. Wasted effort at this point.  

But I reserve my right to call “I told ya so!” when the lawsuits start.

Conservatives win the next Canadian federal election!

This isn’t a predictive headline, folks. This is truth. The Conservatives will win the election in October. I, as an Expat, can’t vote in it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t take at least a sense of interest in it. Or stock in the fact that the Conservatives are finally getting what they wanted the last time: Complete control.

For the last two years, Canada has been living in the most blessed of political states: a minority government. As close to having the car in neutral as it gets. It means the least chance of political scandal (the “ruling” party doesn’t want to make mistakes that’ll haunt them come election time), and the opposition enjoys a place of perceived power as they get courted by the ruling party to help push through votes.

Well, that’s all coming to an end now. So brace yourself, Canada — things are likely to get worse.

Continue reading “Conservatives win the next Canadian federal election!”

Is America ready for Obama + Clinton?

I love American politics. It’s my form of WWE — all the cheers and jeers with all the spectacle to go along with it. One day, I think the American presidency will go the way of the President of the Galaxy from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and be little more than a distraction from the real power.

Heck, it could be like that already, for all we know.

Today, it was announced that Hillary Clinton would be willing to consider a Vice-Presidency with Barak Obama as top billing. But here’s a thought: Are Americans ready for this?

Continue reading “Is America ready for Obama + Clinton?”

There was an election?

Yep, believe it or not, there was an election in Alberta yesterday. Provincial. New MLAs, new premier (in theory), all that jazz. In most provinces, it’s usually time of actual change — old regimes are voted out, new ones come to power, more scandals (from different angles), and (this is the important part) an opposition party that actually has some teeth.

But this is Alberta. Nothing ever changes in Alberta. The PCs being in an overwhelming majority is like the sun coming up in the morning.

Continue reading “There was an election?”