Friday, 7 August 2015

One Senior's Political Opinion

Image result for images of Oh CanadaI have never been a political aficionado.  I voted with my heart rather than my head for many years and often based my decision on the person representing my riding and not the politician at the head of the party.  Since retirement, I have had more time to monitor politics.  I realize that I am walking on thin ice here, without much political knowledge - just opinions - but, really, I think I am just your average Canadian trying to make sense of a political system that moves in the dark recesses of Parliament Hill and only surfaces with rhetoric to enable it to once more move back into its den of darkness.  OK - maybe a little dramatic, but....!  That was never discussed in any social studies course in my school.

Here is what I have figured out for myself:

1.  Many politicians start out with a deep desire to change the world based on their own values and beliefs.  Some succeed.  Some succumb and compromise. Some keep fighting until they get voted out or get too old.
2.  Much that goes on in the political realm takes place under the surface; like an iceberg, only the tip is exposed to the public.
3.  A skilled politician is one who can keep a distance from all the failures, make deals under the table to keep the political balls - his political balls - in the air; and, can figure out how to play with the other political big kids trading cards, marbles or, in real life, armies, equipment, and favours.
4.  The political essays and articles and Facebook posts are ALL skewed to appeal to the parties the author supports.
5.  We, as the public, can easily find many of said essays, articles and Facebook posts that support the view we agree with, spouting off statistics that prove XYZ - and we use that to support our beliefs, sighing with relief that we were right in the first place. It is like a scientist who starts out believing that the earth is flat and then spends the rest of his life proving it instead of saying: I wonder what shape the earth is?

Accept it.  Politics is a game.  It`s winners are the politicians who can score a great pension, maybe make a difference by denting the machinery for good (not evil), and are able to retire with a good record of service to their constituency.  These are most often the small players - the ones in the trenches (or ridings).  They campaign on the party line and they are the ones who believe it will happen.  They get our vote because we believe them, too.  The losers are usually us - the public - because the party is bigger than the members we voted to serve us.

The reality is that the higher a politician gets to the top, the more he or she must compromise, negotiate, and, sometimes, "sell their soul" just to keep the power to come back next term.  As we have all heard, next term is when all of the promises will be kept and Canada will become an economic superhero capable of saving the world from itself while maintaining a lifestyle that takes care of its people from cradle to grave.

As Joe Q Citizen (or Josephine!), I have no real answers to this.  I am not a political science graduate nor have I spent hours studying what economic policy might be best in any given situation.  I can only share how I am going to handle this election come October 2015.

I am going to figure out what I want in a government by paying attention to the comments and promises made by listening to the candidates, reading the least biased articles I can find, and, by researching what works and what doesn't in historical data and in other countries.  I am going to vote for the party that has a plan that lines up with what I have discovered in my research and convinces me they will make a good effort to follow through.  All of these other theories I will leave to the experts.  I don`t know what is best for Canada but I do know what I believe is best for me, a Canadian, recently retired, middle-class citizen:

1.   A government who cares for the poor and the average citizen of Canada, takes a hard look at the cost of governing and has the courage to start cutting at the top - their own salaries, pensions and perks and then continues sourcing the additional funds from the outside: i.e. increased corporate taxes.
2. A government who will protect its most vulnerable citizens: the youngest, the oldest and the sick.
3. A government who will provide incentives for small businesses, ensuring that they continue to grow.
4. A government who will protect the privacy of its own citizens and repeal Bill C51.
5. A government who will keep Canadian jobs on Canadian soil where ever possible and quit selling out in the name of so-called trade deals.
6. A government who will revitalize Canada's position as a peacekeeping country and not a potential warmonger or weak follower - violence is never as cut and dried as the good guys and the bad guys.  There are a lot of innocent people being maimed and killed in the name of spreading democracy.
7.  A government who will willingly work towards transparency for the public in all of its administration.
8. A government who will take our environment seriously and figure out a way to protect it AND still grow economically.

Or that party that comes close enough to win my belief that they will at least try.

It's your choice; it's my choice.  

Let's vote like informed voters!  

Oh Canada!

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