Wednesday, November 30, 2005

With the successful passage of an unprecedented non-confidence motion on Parliament Hill, Canadians take to the polls yet again, faced with a rare winter election campaign likely to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. All indications are that when the votes are counted on January 23rd, things will be pretty much where they are now: the Liberal Party forming a minority government in a precarious alliance with the socialist New Democrats, and the Conservative Party left leading the opposition with the separatist Bloc Quebecois in tow. Thus continues the regionalized political morass that formed in the wake of the ’93 election.

From nearly every observer’s vantage point, the prospect of a return to the ol’ days when political giants like Mackenzie King, St. Laurent, Diefenbaker, Trudeau, and Mulroney presided over the Dominion atop broad national parties and large parliamentary majorities is slim to none. The regional blocs of the West, Quebec, Ontario, and the Atlantic Provinces, seem to be almost permanently stuck in place, with party allegiances firmly entrenched, as evidenced by the electorate’s reaction to the infamous Gomery scandal. Despite charges of corruption, bribery, kickbacks, and gross fiscal mismanagement levelled at the Liberal Party by an independent inquiry, voters still appear willing to support them, particularly in the vote-rich party stronghold of Ontario. Such curious behavior by the electorate is a scathing indictment of the Conservative Party’s inability to capitalize on gaping Liberal vulnerabilities, and may be further proof of my "Mass Hysterical Lunacy" explanation for Canadian voting patterns of late.

To break the regional stalemate and usher in a new era of majority government rule, one of two things has to happen. Either the Liberals or Conservatives must choose a charismatic leader who can appeal to a wide swath of voters across all of English Canada, or the separatist sentiments in Quebec must somehow subside, thereby weakening the Bloc Quebecois’s appeal to French voters. Of course, I would put odds on the former rather than the latter, though I’m hard-pressed to find anyone on the provincial or national political stage at the moment who a majority Canadians would find eminently palatable.

Then again, I could be wrong. Who knew Kim Campbell would be all the rage for a few months in ’93?


At 12/08/2005 1:19 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

Liberal, conservative... they are all guilty of crooked dealings and corruption.(

It just turns out that the Liberals got caught this time around.

At 12/08/2005 4:15 PM, Blogger Ace said...

So, voters should just accept a sweeping generalization of equivalence and forget about it? They should allow the Liberals to be absolved because past generations of Conservative governments had their fair share of scandal as well? Doesn't that strike you as a little too easy to accept?

This issue here is what constitutes an appropriate response to getting "caught". In a democracy, the electorate usually voices their displeasure at the ballot box. Given the scope and depth of the myriad scandals over the past 12 years, one would think the Libs' would eventually pay a price for betraying the public trust far too often. Oddly, Canadian voters in Ontario and Atlantic Canada think otherwise. It's a puzzling phenomenon, one bordering on collective lunacy in my opinion.

At 12/09/2005 6:36 AM, Anonymous Jen said...

I certainly agree with your argument. We have the unfortunate dilemna of voting for the greater or lesser of evils or abstaining completely from the process. The current system is far from perfect, but it is the only system we have at present. Personally, abstaining from voting is as bad as voting the crooks back in. Party lines aside, my own choice will be made taking into consideration the character of the representative, not his/her affiliation to a party. While I realize this may be flawed reasoning and perhaps a bit naive, I would be loathe to abstain in my democratic privilege to have my voice heard.

At 12/09/2005 7:48 AM, Blogger Ace said...

Considering the character of the representative does not constitute flawed reasoning. In fact, I believe it is essential. Would I vote for someone of questionable character who just happens to share my political affiliation? Probably not, though that doesn't mean I would vote for someone who espouses view opposite to mine. Thankfully, there are a number of minor 3rd party candidates out there who I might vote for instead.

During my time as an executive with the Young Republican organization I met several people who aspire to run for local office within the next few years. I would enthusiastically support many of them. As for a few others, I would consider campaigning actively against them because I believe they are too unstable or unscrupulous to hold any public office.

At 12/16/2005 8:43 AM, Blogger azgopbabeval said...

Gee...I wonder who you could be talking about..."As for a few others, I would consider campaigning actively against them because I believe they are too unstable or unscrupulous to hold any public office."
Miss seeing you around Ace.


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