Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Least Objectionable

This campaign will be remembered for a lot of reasons, few of them flattering. The first, overarching theme that comes to mind is complete negativity. Instead of offering visions, concepts and hope, we are treated to daily fear mongering and threats that don't seem too have any boundaries. There was never a high road this campaign. From the outset, strategies revolved around criticisms and divisiveness.

Martin's plea yesterday asking easterners to vote Liberal to keep "Calgarians" out of government was certainly a low water mark. What a wonderful statement from a supposed national leader, who's main interest should be Canada as a whole. Proof positive that this government will stop at nothing to cling to power, no matter how offensive. Using any objective measure, surely it is time for this reeking, ideological bereft party to go, and quickly.

I wish it was this simple, but its the alternative that causes more disillusionment. No matter how disappointed I am with this farce of a Liberal campaign, I still can't embrace a Conservative party that doesn't reflect any of my values. Harper may have packaged himself as a moderate, but I'm not buying this "new" image. The entire Conservative campaign is predicated on the idea that we need change. Oh sure, Harper has offered some goodies and policy positions, but his only real theme is Liberal corruption. The Harper stump speech preys on public dissatisfaction, instead of his positive agenda. It is quite telling, and alarming, that Harper finds it necessary to keep assuring Canadians that he really won't have too much power if elected. Has anyone ever been forced to use this tactic to quell fears? People may be voting Conservative, but outside of hardcore supporters, the majority of their support draws inspiration from negativity.

What about Layton? The NDP campaign is a mixed bag of unsubstantiated scandal attacks, ridiculous debate performances, neverending attacks on the Liberals, sprinkled with a hint of optimism. I find Layton's peacock strutting and posturing to be a complete turnoff. Despite all of Layton's talk about politicians and promises, he has the ability to come off like a slick cars salesman. However, deep within the maelstrom of criticisms and bashing, we do find some measure of vision and a positive agenda. I agree with a lot of NDP ideas, although they seem completely detached from reality from time to time.

When you step back and look at this abysmal, uninspiring campaign as a whole you find few options. I was leaning Liberal, primarily because I can't buy into Harper and his right wing agenda. However, after reading the Martin comments yesterday about Calgarians, it reaffirmed my deep belief that the Liberal party is an embarrassment. I can't, in good conscience, support a party who speaks to the worst of human nature to retain power. However, I also can't support a party who uses manipulation and anger to argue they deserve your vote. So, I am going to vote for the NDP, not because of a ringing endorsement of Layton's campaign, but simply because his party is the least objectionable. In the election aftermath, there will be much talk about winners and losers, but clearly the worst casualty of this campaign is the Canadian political process.

3 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

There was absolutely nothing Martin could have said, positive, negative, indifferent that could not have been spun in such a way as to make him look bad, and he has no one to blame but himself. He gutted the centrist party that, by and large, had served the country well and I will remain forever baffled as to why it required a threat of an election defeat for him to start speaking candidly about some of the issues that have concerned a lot of Canadians -- this one being the Calgary cabal that has co-opted what Canadians like myself understood to be a progressive conservative party that at least attempted to reflect a national conservative concensus.

This isn't Martin pulling something completely out of thin air; most informed progressives have long been talking about the "Calgary School" and its questionnable brokering for gaining control over the levers of power in this country...from business, to media to the political process to the concept of the idea of fundamental morality and values. Martin had many opportunities during the last few years to bring these issues to the table and frustrated too many us during that time with his silence or indifference, and with his stifling of dissent within the Liberal party. Not to mention the Liberal party's utter contempt for the public broadcaster that could have at least been permitted to engage Canadians in a dialogue of about what the abuses economic and political power can mean for democracy.

I knew he'd come to regret it, and now, we're all going to regret it. I'm just profoundly surprised at what a complete political naif he has revealed himself to be.

Steve V said...

ti guy

"This isn't Martin pulling something completely out of thin air; most informed progressives have long been talking about the "Calgary School" and its questionnable brokering for gaining control over the levers of power in this country.."

I didn't mean to suggest that Martin was making this claim up. However, there are philosophical ways to make this argument, without playing one region against another in such a tactless way. This statement by Martin is just another in a series of low brow political plays that has finally pushed me over the edge.

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