With apologies to politicians, partisans, and oodles of professional and amateur journalist/blogger types, I don't buy into the many end of the world scenarios being dangled in front of me pre-election day.
A number of scenarios are playing out and it will be up to Canadians to decide how they want the country to run over the next months and years. What is clear is a lot of people are coming to the realization it isn't difficult to vote, that voting is important, and they are thoroughly enjoying the idea they actually have some power for a change.
In the last few days you can expect plenty of drama flying in all directions. I put some thought into it and I've come up with my own scenario, which, is really a concoction of many years of observation, mixed with way too much reading while watching every news program going, following twitter, all jumbled up in my big bag of things I think about and I will guarantee this scenario is valid for at least another 6 hours or so.
Based on my own knowledge of things political, conservatives took out a very large hammer this morning and firmly smashed the "break glass in case of emergency" thingie. This will result in a flood of John Baird-like hollering about all the world ending events that are about to rain down upon us.
The conservative strategy will require us to carry steel umbrellas for the next few days as they throw every scare tactic, including the kitchen sink, at us. You won't have to listen hard to hear the world is coming to an end. The banks will fail. Cows will not give milk anymore. Provinces will float out into the ocean. Raging camels will overrun the Arctic. Your children will have to give candy to adults on Halloween. You get the idea. The only thing they can do now is try to: a) scare people into voting FOR them, or, b) scare people into NOT voting. Key message will be anything that remotely sounds frightening.
This is the payback for their arrogance. Ignoring Canadians, ignoring reporters, ignoring how distasteful Canadians found issues like G8/20 porkbarrelling, the hiring of convicts to top positions, appointing senators charged with fraud, trying to ruin the life of Helena Guergis and not even speaking her name, let alone apologizing for what they'd done when it came to light the astounding charges that were 100% unsubstantiated. I'm not the only one who almost lost my lunch when, in a single day, the party wrote to Elections Canada asking student votes in Guelph be voided, then congratulated Elections Canada publicly when their request was denied. Come on. This doesn't even touch on dozens and dozens of examples of poor judgement, someone (bit players) getting fired every day, the list makes me gag. As it does for many Canadians who are tired of this garbage. All along they have smugly believed we would just ignore all of that, we'd ignore their record, we'd buy into their "violent torpedo of sound bites". It's not too late for these people to save themselves from themselves, however, since every single day has brought us another new, ugly conservative revelation, they've removed the rose coloured glasses a bit late.
So the question upon us. Harper must go, where should I mark my 'X'?
I guess since Jack Layton is the flavour of the day, I should start there. While he looked as though he was off to a slow start, Jack is the current Justin Bieber of Canadian Politics. I'm not sorry people are running away from Stephen Harper, I just hope they are sure of themselves where they stop. Now, before I get wildly attacked by NDP supporters, I'm not going to launch into some kind of a vote for Jack is a vote for Karl Marx or something so stupid. That tactic is best left to conservative idealogues.
I believe in social programs designed to better the society I live in. I am in a position and prepared to pay to provide certain services, even if I don't use, or may never need them. Someone else does. I'm ok with caring about others, even the ones I don't know. One thing I do know, people who vote NDP can count on at least having a leader who will listen and work with others.
I do still have some serious reservations about the NDP. In my opinion, they are still unable to develop a program to advance their agenda in a way that doesn't rock confidence in the economic fundamentals of the country. No, Canada will not be mysteriously bankrupted overnight due to some mad give-everyone-everything spending spree, rather, when one scrutinizes some of what is being put forth, as popular as it may seem in the heat of the moment, it gives me troubling pause.
As populist a promise as it is, the credit card relief idea should worry you. Aside from the unwanted side effect of capital fleeing to somewhere profits aren't being cut is part of the equation, leading banks to have less money to lend, but the bigger problem is they will find other fees, rates, etc to recoup those losses. There are ways to get relief for families but regulating it is asking for more trouble than any Canadian really wants.
Today Jack is talking about regulating gas prices. This will be seen as a direct attack on the oil and gas industry, which is super in the eyes of the average joe but once again very bad policy when you look at the wider ramifications, not the least of which is the cost to the environment of artificially low gas prices which lead to higher consumption.
Those are two examples of policy that is not mature enough to govern this country. This is almost Anti-Harper to the max, without the criminals of course. Harper has tried to move us to an uncomfortable right-hand corner of the room and my only fear of the NDP is they will just shift me uncomfortably to the left-hand corner of the room.
I'm going to make no secret about it. I am not happy with any of the existing parties. None of these people show me a vision of Canada other than replacing one colour party with another. In order to maintain a sense of stability, and remove this 5 year stain on our country that has been "The Harper Government", I believe one needs to go to the polls on election day and vote for the Liberal candidate. This rids us of Harper and his stable crew of convict yes men (women to the back of the bus) and does not set the financial community to alarm.
I don't say the NDP will never be ready to lead, I don't know that. I know they can't at this juncture. Were I to offer advice, it would be to start in the centre and introduce yourself to the world. Don't announce yourself with an earthquake that could take a lengthy period of adjustment that would ultimately hurt the people who trusted you.
I've found it difficult to write this. I like Jack Layton, I like the many friends I have who are NDP members and supporters. I just have too many red flags to justify taking the chance.
I won't say the Liberals have always been the best. Perhaps people don't find their message inspiring enough. I tend to believe we've been so poisoned by the centuries long Ignatieff attack we may be trained not to hear his message. Partly his fault for believing we're adults and want to hear someone talk when really we're towel waving morons who want to hear the loudest shouter.
Nevertheless, I, Mr Bigpicguy, endorse the Liberals in this election and on May 3rd I am rounding up a posse that wants to change the game, not just the players.
I'll end this diatribe by urging you to elect anyone but Harper. We will still be alive on May 3rd and 10 times more Canadian than we were the day before. It may be the end of the Harperian calendar, it won't be the end of the world. I just choose to choose some stability while my plan to change it all gathers steam!
PS~if you're reading this is BC please do something to get Elizabeth May elected so we can actually hear what she has to say.
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Mark McCaw ~ twitter's @bigpicguy
Author of "Insights Inside a Mind" ~ blogging the big picture