If there is an election in 2021, Canadians need more than ‘vacuous drivel’
As we move into 2021, there is a very good chance that we will see a federal election in Canada. Most minority Parliaments in Canadian history do not reach 24 months in power and October 2021 will mark that 24 month period for the current Parliament. If that is the case, here is what I hope to see.
First and foremost, I hope we see a campaign that avoids the “culture wars” that we are seeing in the United States and to a lesser extent here in Canada. Since 1992 when Republican Pat Buchanan raised the issue of a “cultural war” directed at liberals, feminists, abortion and LGBTQ rights, etc., we have seen election campaigns that are based less on rational discussions and objective evidence and more on emotional issues.
Let’s look back at the 2019 federal election. What were the major themes or issues that you remember? Let me guess I bet you are struggling to remember the issues. So let me help you. There were the Liberal attacks on Andrew Scheer for his admittedly incoherent stand on abortion rights and his refusal to march in a Pride parade. The Liberals of course pulled out the usual cry that the Conservatives had a hidden agenda for some form of massive right-wing leaning social change. (Ignoring the fact that in almost a decade in power Stephen Harper had shown this was not the case.) There were the Conservative attacks on Justin Trudeau for his wearing of blackface about 20 or so years in the past. One would almost believe that at the time Canada was facing no serious, substantive issues.
This hasn’t improved in 2020. The Liberals are again attacking a Conservative leader over his courting of social conservatives (although I don’t hold social conservative views, are these people not Canadians as well and allowed to express their views?). Meanwhile Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has accused the Liberals of almost bankrupting the nation, while providing no plan at all on how the Conservatives would support Canadians through this pandemic. We see the same situation with Conservatives criticizing the Trudeau government over how the COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed, while offering nothing of substance in return. Mr. O’Toole if you have a better plan, put it in front of Canadians!
Perhaps political parties are happy with this situation. After all the Republican Party ran a presidential campaign in 2020 with no platform whatsoever!
But is our society being served by parties serving up such vacuous drivel? I would argue it is not. In fact can anyone actually recall a Canadian election that was policy based? In my mind the last one was the 1988 federal election in which free trade with the United States was the primary focus. And that was 32 years ago.
I am hoping in 2021 we see a federal leader and their party “take the high road” and argue for debates and policy discussions that are based on objective evidence and rationality.
For example, when the pandemic ends we will be faced with a national debt of over a trillion dollars, and a deficit well over $400 billion. What is the detailed plan to begin to pay this down and work toward a balanced budget? Canadians deserve a detailed economic discussion here, not just Conservatives bellowing about Liberals bankrupting the nation, and Liberals shrieking Conservatives will cut all social programs and let people starve.