The stench of another election is upon us. A necessary evil to maintain a democracy.
Let me be clear. Voting isn’t evil, being a politician isn’t evil, campaigning isn’t evil….but deceiving an electorate, breaking promises and running rough shod over your constituents is.
I don’t need to go into details, this excellent article by Christina Blizzard details the current provincial government’s litany of broken promises.
I should note that, in my opinion, Sun Media is a conservative organization. I’ve always respected Ms. Blizzard though…I heard once that she paid the vet bills for a homeless guy’s dog. Being an animal lover that struck a chord.
I am once again digressing, let me get back on track.
I’m ashamed to admit that I was once apathetic about voting. I’m not really sure what got me back on track, but I now view voting as a sacred responsibility. I review platforms, past performances. I watch videos and look for nuance and sub-text, listening for what’s not being said as well as what is. I do not vote for the party that will do the best for me, but the best for the nation, province, city.
I have long ago resigned myself to the fact that being an upper-middle class single, childless male that I will be the piggy bank for whomever wins elections. Its hard to complain about taxation cutting into my disposable money when there are people in this country who can’t afford to eat. I do have every right to complain about where it goes though (because no matter how high my taxes go, those people still starve)…you can expect a future blog on this subject…probably around tax time.
I have reviewed the Liberal and the Conservative platforms. Their websites and their videos. My thought during all this was, “These people will say anything to get your vote!”.
I was immediately hit by the strong mental image of a politician… guant, pale, sweating, covered with scabs and track marks (for the uninitiated I’m describing a dyed-in-the-wool drug addict jonsing ) approaching a group of voters muttering, “Hey, whatcha’ got…you got anything for me? Hook me up and I’ll cut your taxes, you won’t regret it!”
The reason I thought of this….I have it on good authority that raging drug addicts are not good credit risks. They take and take and take until you’ve been bled dry. Politicians are making promises, essentially offering to buy your vote with tax cuts and better programs, but…where are they going to get the money? So, you give them your vote, and they disappear into the night…..the promised tax cuts never appear, and you realize with horror that things aren’t better, they’re worse! But its too late…when casting a vote there are no backsies or do-overs…your vote is gone.
Then the next election comes around and they come back, and its all apologies, excuses, smiles and oh so sincere assurances that they will never screw you over again…
All I see in these platforms is money flowing out of provincial coffers with no solid plan as to how to make sure that they don’t dig the province into deeper debt (why did Bob Rae just pop into my head?).
They talk about cutting “government waste”…..but how often do they actually cut waste and not just programs that run counter to their own ideology (regardless of effectiveness) , or worse, pander to whomever is the most media savvy. It would actually cost a small fortune to do a detailed analysis of every government committee and program (as promised by the PC’s), evaluate their worth before deciding which to cut.
Oh….another digression. Tim Hudak states that he will base his decision on what cut based on a program’s value to Ontario families. (I just went to their site so I could link the reference, but the detailed list I saw under Government Accountability is gone). So I guess we single people don’t count? Maybe I should claim my dog as a dependent on my next tax return so I can be considered a family and be worthy of consideration in the provincial PC’s eyes.
Anyway, I’m left in a quandary with this provincial Election. I see both parties that have a remote chance of winning as opposite sides of the same coin. They’re pushing sunshine and rainbows during the campaign, and oh boy, when reality hits in the months and years after the election…its gonna hurt. I’d really like to know how much before I cast my ballot.
But the harsh reality is that they can’t stand up and tell you that they might need to raise taxes, or that the future is going to be hard because we have to reign in the deficit. If they do that, they will lose the election. Why….because, in keeping with the drug addict metaphor, we’re a bunch of enablers who keep buying their sunshine and rainbows BS and voting for them, and most of us wouldn’t even contemplate voting for someone who put forward a plan that entailed a few years of hardship to get through to financial stability.
So I urge each and every one of you…when deciding who to vote for….think critically and vote smart.