An Evergreen Guide for Undecided Voters

I never understood what an “undecided” voter was.

As a child, I didn’t understand how the grown up who got to vote, wouldn’t already know how they were voting – when they seemed to know everything else. It was unsettling that all knowing grown-ups wouldn’t know something as vitally important to our society – given that our society is defined by the population’s right to vote.

To me, it was always a clear choice, either you vote or you do not. How could you not know?

As young adult, I continued to not understand how other adults didn’t know how they were going to vote – after all, it was simple, you voted for the person standing in for the party that most matched your values and beliefs – basically, the party that best pandered to you; I see in retrospect.

It is true that things are only simple when you look at them with a simple framework so everything really is as complicated as we care to make them.

Now I understand that parties are not monolithic – at least, no party that is worth voting for and is trustworthy is monolithic. This is why this voter guide is evergreen.

If the political party is an ensemble – that is to say, there is a leader who assigns the parties members into positions where they are best able to perform and offer expert advice – then this is the party for voters who want to ensure the most options and most information is considered before decisions are made.

If the political party is a leader with minions – that is to say, a party where the leader is the only person the leader respects and listens to – then this is the party for…..well, voters who agree with whatever that one leader person says. Because in this party, they are monolithic and decisions are already made and it’s a matter of forcing the policy to comply with the decision.

The other important hallmark of this kind of party is that there is an empty field for possible next leaders; because a party that cannot function to generate platforms regardless of who is in charge, is not a party that is sustainable when the leader is no longer leader.

Worse, a leader who actively cripples the party’s supply of future leaders, is clearly no capable of actually leading and providing a direction, they are merely getting while the getting is good. This is never good for taxpayers; just the leader and their favoured cronies.

A political party is largely a framework and you can identify which parties are about solving problems by which party has the open framework where many voices are heard and considered, versus a party where the framework is about imposing solutions, as these tend to be the parties with the one leader with yes-minions and the solutions being sought is how to impose their solution on the public sector.

This is why, as former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark said in 2004 that:

“I would prefer to go with the devil we know,” Clark said Sunday in an appearance on CTV’s Question Period, explaining that he is “extremely worried” by Harper’s ideological views.

“I am that concerned with the imprint of Stephen Harper, not only what he stood far in the past, but the way he has led this party,” Clark said.

“I don’t believe that the Harper party can get away with the masquerade that it is the Progressive Conservative party that was broad enough to attract support from a wide cross-section of Canadians.”

Mr Clark is correct. If we look at Stephen Harper’s past statements, his only consistent message has been that he needs a majority for his agenda. It’s why he is constantly accusing the liberal party as scare mongering against his secret agenda – because he is trying to distract the public from that secret agenda.

If Harper’s agenda was in fact reasonable and most Canadians would support it, then he would be able to lay out that agenda clearly and the opposition parties would have little recourse but to endorse it, to vote with actual confidence for it; rather than having to vote non-confidence in good conscience and with confidence.

He has not. Instead, Harper does little but to complain that everyone is against him – the public service who carry out the business of the government, the judges and courts who act as a check and balance of the government, the senate and even the constitution i.e. the actual government, is against him and preventing him from bringing forth this wonderful one size fixes everything agenda that he cannot see fit to share even with the people who he wishes to impose it upon and from whom he expects to be given a majority governments from which to do it.

So, unless you are in on what the secret agenda is, we could all be very concerned. Although, really, it’s not hard to extrapolate what it would be: America Lite

For the first time in US / Canada history, the US Democratic President (not the party; just the president) is to the left of our conservative Prime Minister.

This is something that should be of great concern to all Canadians, since, with very few exceptions, what constitutes “right Wing” in Canada is far left of what is “left wing” in the USA.

We need to only look at the longest undefended border in world history and see that we now need papers to cross the line to our formerly amiable neighbour and troubled sibling nation.

If we think of Canada and the US as sibling nations – the USA a child of the British Empire and Canada, the child of the British Empire and France – second child with a  different father – our entwined history snaps into sharp focus.

The USA wanted to stand on their own as a nation, revolutionarily ran away and declared themselves a nation, violently separating from the motherland.

Canada stuck with the parents and tried to resolve the matter of which side of the family did we best take after and settled into an uneasy and unbalanced relationship between our Anglo and Franco halves; leaving the separation as a nation to later diplomatic means and we retained symbolic connections.

Aside: How America and Canada dealt with their respective aboriginal populations is another matter, but a reflection of the seedy underbelly of the same character of overt and covert violence.

The matter for Canadians has become critical with Stephen Harper’s conduct and his American style smear campaign ads – which largely amount to smearing the Liberal party for doing exactly what Harper maneuvered them into doing.

Canadians do not want this election and we did not want the last election – Harper attempted to pander to this by passing legislation setting fixed election dates – and he has broken his own unconstitutional and illogical law at every opportunity.

A fixed election law makes no sense in a government system where a failed confidence vote can trigger an election. Passing a fixed election law and then conspiring to ensure a loss of confidence at every opportunity demonstrates what little respect that Stephen Harper has for the laws of the land – even when he was the architect of the very law he is subverting.

So we need to ask Mr. Harper firmly and repeatedly, until we get an answer – what is it that Mr. Harper cannot do without a majority?

What is it that Mr. Harper seeks to do as the government of the day when he has demonstrated no respect or regard for the laws of the land, the format of the government and for any Canadians who are not the group he is most pandering to – married couples with children.

Well, let’s look at the actions that Mr. Harper took upon gaining office.

He first cancelled the Liberal plan that provided a subsidy to all families and replaced it with a plan that only benefitted some families.

He removed “equality” from the mandate of the Status of Women – which, in the Canadian Charter of rights, gender equality trumps all other rights – and then he gutted the department’s budget and further reduced the mandate; leaving very few offices with no money to fulfill the revised mandate.

He also canceled the Charter Challenge program. This was the program that allowed a variety of groups who have historically been disadvantaged to seek redress at the Supreme Court level on high level legislative matters – matters of equal rights and access to said rights.

So, Mr Harper is asking for a majority government of the day to allow him to impose an agenda that he won’t share, and given what he has openly done with his successive minorities; we can’t afford to give Mr. Harper a majority to further erode the rights and freedoms that all Canadians enjoy just for being Canadian.

And, we can’t afford to give Mr. Harper another minority just to teach the Liberals that they don’t have a blank cheque for self promotion – when Harper has demonstrated his utter disregard for not only the foundational laws of Canada, but also the laws that he has passed as part of his vaguely worded but increasingly transparent agenda; the so called fixed elections date law.

We cannot financially afford any more allegedly fiscal conservative governments leaving Canada in a state of constant elections.

Do we stand together as Canadians – a mosaic multicultural society which is civil despite our differences because we value individuals enough to provide as level as possible a playing field for everyone to participate to their interest and capacity?

Or do we stand apart as Americans Lite – a melting pot of diverse people with no social safety net, no level playing field, and everyone for themselves and very few being concerned with actual equality and most being I got mine so the line ends here?

In so much as a tv beer commercial can summarize a political position – I Am Canadian.