For the last 10 years, Stephen Harper has been the government of Canada. I do not mean the Prime Minister of Canada or the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, I mean that he has been the government. Anyone in his party that got in his way was out of the caucus, shuffled to the back bench and/or suddenly found themselves under a bus.
As a fan of democracy, transparency and checks and balances in government, that’s an issue for me. It is enough of an issue that I consider political reform (both democratic and parliamentary reform) to be the most important issue facing Canada after this election. Canada cannot afford to have another Stephen Harper of any party or ideology.
I am deeply interested in issues, but I don’t care very much about political parties, at least in Canada. While elections may set a general tone and provide a list of priorities, most leaders who want to remain leaders are responsive to public opinion. If a proposed policy is wildly unpopular, most leaders will back off of it. If a significant portion of the public wants something done, most leaders will take some action, even if they don’t go all the way. Neither of these things is true of Stephen Harper.
I went into this in some detail in this post.
Under any leader but Stephen Harper we would have seen some movement on political reform, on climate change, on many issues facing First Nations People and veterans. Under any leader but Harper, the 2014 trade deal with China wouldn’t have happened (at least in the form it did), the deal to buy F-35 jets wouldn’t have happened, Canada’s waterways would still be protected and the oil sands would have been reigned in (or at least better regulated).
So, really, between the two leaders either Trudeau or Mulcair is fine with me. I’ve been really disappointed with the amount of venom spewed by Liberal and NDP supporters at one another when the objective should be to get rid of Stephen Harper.
Between Trudeau and Mulcair, I’d rather see former as the PM. I like his political reform approach better and he seems the least interested in his own personal power. Trudeau has been accused of being a puppet to various interests and political party insiders but no one has suggested that he’s an egomaniac who can’t be reasoned with.
With that said, I voted NDP. My local Liberal Party had very little chance of winning from the beginning (they pulled 7.5% of the vote in 2011). They also chose a nominee who I couldn’t vote for and who recently finished 8th in a city council race. I know that everyone is anxious to see Harper go and has a list of things they’d like to see government do or undo as soon as he is out the door. However, I think it’s important to take it one step at a time.
The first step is to get rid of Harper by voting for the person in your riding most likely to beat him.
The second step is to fix the political system so one egomaniacal sociopath cannot hold all the keys ever again. While we’re at it we have to make sure that we have enough transparency to know what our government is doing and we need the gags lifted from government scientists.
After our democracy is restored, we can move on to all of the other things that need to be done and the Grits and NDP can have at each other again.
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