Sunday, May 1, 2011

Canada Votes 2011 #3 - What Canada Do YOU Want to Live In?

If you've used Vote Compass like I have you'll see where you sit on the political grid (or where the CBC thinks you should sit). I sit smack dab in the middle. Pretty much equidistant from both the Conservatives (CPC) and the rest (ABC: Anything But Conservative). In some ways I appreciate and (somewhat) benefit from one side, and in different ways I appreciate and (somewhat) respect the other.

Sadly, the first-past-the-post system we have in place at the moment pretty much guarantees that it doesn't matter what I do. Every vote is counted, but not every one matters, and even that's questionable. Call me crazy though, but I think regardless of the party in power most Canadians will get screwed over on the actual issues at one point or another.

With the election is less than 3 days away I have to say I'm genuinely conflicted. Up to this point I've tried very hard to keep my political cards close to my chest (I'm more than happy discussing certain issues, or democracy in general with anyone, but discussing politics? Not so much). However, with voting day looming it's time I figured it out. Here's how I feel about it, and I'm hoping that there are comments coming from the 8 people that read this.

For many people in the country this election is a two horse race between the CBC and ABC (minus the Greens). What makes this tricky is that even a majority ABC will result in a minority CPC House of Commons. So, either the ABC is too fractured or the electoral system in place is horribly broken. I believe it's a little from column 'A' and a little from column 'B'. A separatist Bloc party getting in the way does not help matters either, but that's a rant for another day.

I happen to be in a riding that, after the Liberal plummet, switched over to the Conservatives and hasn't looked back. It's not even close actually (last election it's one of the few ridings where the winner garnered about 50% of the votes, and the projection for this year seems to indicate more of the same). Apparently the sponsorship "scandal" was too much for this lot, and a united right wing seemed to be a favourable alternative.

So the conflicting part of this for me is that for a couple years (since I moved back to this region) I have been seeing the benefits of the CPC right in my backyard and there are many little things that give me hope that my local candidate speaks loud and clear for the people that voted for him. I would love for these things to continue as they are now (or in some similar and just as noticeable way), but the problem is that a CPC government does not, for me at least, represent what I think a Canadian government should be.

I recently read this article by Margaret Atwood. Having grown up in Canada her stuff is pretty much mandatory reading from birth. Generally speaking I have mixed opinions on her work, but this article really resonated as I read it. She writes about the kind of country she would like to live in and she's voting based on which party she thinks would bring those qualities to the forefront. For the undecided this is a great way to go about it, and let's face it folks, the people who knew who they were voting for the instant the election was called aren't changing their minds now.

I've been leaning one particular direction but keeping an open mind, paying attention and reading articles from a variety of sources and forming an opinion based on what matters to me. Much like Ms. Atwood I have my own paper napkin and here it is (in no particular order):
  • Honest
  • Hard working
  • Approachable
  • Transparent
  • Empathetic
  • Innovative
  • Creative
Sadly, I would argue that at any given moment neither the CPC nor any part the ABC simultaneously exhibit all of these traits. It is also my honest opinion that the CPC doesn't exhibit any of them - and they never will - and what's worse is I don't think they ever want to.

What Canada do YOU want to live in?

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