Election: Anyone But Conservative

September 28th, 2008 by Potato

With an election underway, there’s bound to be a few more political posts here at BbtP as I think out loud on the issues coming up. I haven’t yet decided who I’m going to vote for: the Liberals certainly seem to be making the environment more of a priority, and Glen Pearson seems like a decent enough MP; OTOH, I might want to continue to throw the Greens or NDP a bone, especially since this is a pretty safe Liberal stronghold, so strategic voting doesn’t really come into play.

One thing I know is that I won’t be voting Conservative. They’ve been campaigning pretty much non-stop since the last election, with a non-stop series of attack ads. Negative campaigning usually turns me off in general: this isn’t the States with a 2-party lesser-of-two-evils choice, slamming one candidate/party still usually leaves us with two viable choices. Doubly so when they’re wasting energy campaigning outside of an election when they should be doing what they were elected to do. Despite my distaste for negative reasoning, I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here about why you shouldn’t vote for the Cons. I can’t really say if you should vote Liberal, NDP, or Green instead — that’s up to you to figure out based on the issues and the candidates who would represent you in your riding. Here though are just a few of the reasons why you shouldn’t vote Conservative this time:

-Income Trusts
-Hypocrisy in many forms: floor-crossers, accountability, senate election/cabinet minister, own election law.
-Not prime minesterial: thuggish, non-stop partisan attack ads on taxpayer dime (10%ers); Con MP will be just another Harper pawn, will not represent riding
-CNSC affair – dangerous precedent
-Corruption – Cadman, in-and-out election funds
-Bad policies – spending away surplus and lack of fiscal restraint; GST vs income tax; 40-year mortgages; child care; no green/global weirding plan to speak of
-Transparency and accountability: nonexistent
– Goes against grass roots of party locals (parachute candidates, etc), MPs accountable to Harper, not the riding (cf. Lunn’s “I serve at the pleasure of the PM”)
-“Ontario is the last place to invest” – which is just a complete WTF moment coming from the guy who set the very taxes he was complaining were too high just a few years previous.

A few days ago I hammered that point-form summary out, intending to flush out each of those bullet points for anyone that wasn’t familiar with the issues, but I think with the exception of the 10-percenters (I don’t think they’re bothering to send them to Toronto) everyone should be pretty familiar with what’s going on here, and I don’t really want to spend too much time rehashing idiocy and negativity that make my head spin. So, quickly: ten percenters are mailings that MPs are allowed to send to 10% of their riding, that are paid for by the government (via our taxes). They’re supposed to be information fliers: for instance, you pass a new law about car seats, and send information to the 10% of your riding with a high portion of new parents; you change pension rules and send one to an area with a high portion of seniors. On average, I got 1 a year from my previous MPs. The Cons figured out that they could send them not just to their riding, but any riding. So even though I have a Liberal MP, I’ve been getting non-stop fliers (6 so far this year) paid for by the government, outside of an election period, from Conservatives. They are not informational, and in fact look exactly like their billboard attack ads “Dion’s Tax on everything; Not a leader; Dion will take away your 2% GST rebate”. It’s disgusting, and not the least bit prime ministerial to have a mailing ostensibly from Stephen Harper himself that is paid for by the government to bomb my riding with very negative, very partisan ads that have nothing to do with anything in parliament — there isn’t an election, Dion isn’t in power, and hasn’t even said the things they say he said he’d do. It’s clearly a political ad, yet the government is paying for it as though it were an informational mailing. There’s something deeply wrong with that, but censure, if it comes at all, probably won’t come until after the election… (for an example of some Con 10-percenters, click here)

Instead of focusing any more on that, I’ll quote liberally from a recent post by John Scalzi, on his site Whatever. His post was about the US election going on now…

“It’s a campaign that will lie and continue to lie when called on its lies because as far as it can tell it’s being rewarded for doing so.
When there is no real-world penalty for lying, distorting and demonizing, then the only thing to stop you is your own moral compunctions. However, if McCain actually had any moral compunctions on this point, he wouldn’t be running the campaign he’s running now. And I would suggest that a man who shows no moral compunction in pursuit of power is not a man who will suddenly find those compunctions once he has power. An election is a job interview, people. If someone lies to you during a job interview, and says to you “yes, I’m lying, what of it?” when you catch them in the lie, and you hire them anyway, well. You shouldn’t be surprised at what comes next.”

So even better than an election campaign, we’ve had a minority government to test-drive Con governance. And what did we get? Extreme partisanship, pork-barreling, broken promises, stupid promises upheld even under shifting economic sands, hypocrisy, and single-minded arrogance (no coalition or compromise seeking in the minority government, instead just election threats and confidence measures). Indeed, this is a leader who thinks he’s above even his own laws. I shudder at what might happen if the Cons get a majority government and then find some part of the charter of rights and freedoms inconvenient. Then the election comes along, and we get, yes repeated lies (ok, Garth Turner isn’t exactly an unbiased source). We get fearmongering rather than a debate on the issues. To some extent the hyperbole and vilification is there in every election, but the Cons seem to have taken it to new lows, and it makes me afraid not of the Green Shift, but of what might happen if the Cons win…

Of course, there’s a small part of me that’s afraid of a deeper game here. What if Stephen Harper’s insanity is a sacrifice play? What if they knew that the subprime issues in the States, the blowback from globalization and oil consumption were going to come to a head near the end of this decade? What if they called this election just before an unavoidable and severe recession hits, and just happened to throw the election and let the Liberals into power? What if they then later blame said recession on the Liberals, and get to become the ruling party for the next two decades? Because sometimes, it just looks like they’re trying to make themselves unelectable (though damnit, too many people are afraid of this carbon tax thing to see the real danger). Of course, the polls say they’re ahead, but I don’t know if they’re only polling out in Alberta or what, because I don’t know anyone who’s pulling for the Cons.

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