I absolutely do not want to support Harper in the next election scheduled for October of this year. Anyone who knows me, knows that has been a very consistent stance for me.
I also don’t feel inclined towards the NDP and Mulcair. While I tend to lean towards social justice issues, I also know that no social justice can be achieved without hard economic choices building the economy. I also know that the problems of the world can’t be resolved through peacekeeping or not participating when the tough choices have to be made by countries.
So, logically, that would mean I support the Liberals and Trudeau, right? That would be a, ‘not at this time’ response.
Paul Wells writes in Macleans this week on “Why Justin Trudeau is suddenly the underdog“. He points out that Trudeau has been steadily losing the edge he enjoyed in the polls and for the last two months has been first neck and neck with the Conservatives and now, slightly behind them.
I consider myself to be a reasonably average Canadian. Well, the possible exception might be that I tend to explore more than headlines and sound bites when it comes to what is going on around me in the world. I actually read a range of news sources on a daily basis. So, it’s possible that I may be out of touch with average Canadians but I’ll take a stab at what may be going on that Trudeau is losing the edge he’s enjoyed. He lacks substance.
When he became Liberal leader, I rather expect that many Canadians hoped that we’d see a real option. Very few people I speak to see Harper as a good Prime Minister. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who has said they think he is a good PM. Most are resigned to him maybe being the only choice at the time and that wasn’t saying much.
Anyone who cares about democracy in this country has seen it steadily decline. We’ve watched Harper and his boys in the front office (the PMO) run the government and the country based more on a dictatorship than a democracy. When a democracy actually works, all members of parliament have opportunity to speak up about bad choices, this government can’t or wont.. or both.
It’s clear to anyone but the most partisan amongst us that Harper got where he is by a series of questionable, if not outright illegal activity to divert voters from exercising their rights. So, his government brings in a so called “Fair Elections Act” which will make it harder to discover and prosecute this behaviour. There were some amendments made but not enough. So, one would expect that Trudeau would speak up loudly and make the review and possible repeal of the Act an election issue… instead he’s going to review the Freedom of Information Act. Yes, it needs an overhaul but I’d consider protecting the electoral process a greater priority.
Trudeau promised open and transparent nominations of Liberal candidates. That is a pretty tall order in that local committees don’t always make the wisest of choices. There does need to be a process that weeds out potential problem candidates. That is a given and a valid reason for the national party to interfere locally. What is not a valid reason is to interfere to get star candidates in place. If the preferred candidate is going up against someone local who is otherwise a viable candidate, then the local process needs to be respected. Eve Adams crossing the floor is one thing, her being handed a riding when it is clear she lack integrity is another matter.
More Thought Less Politics
Trudeau needs to do what Harper fails to do. His choices need to be made based on facts and the ability to express those facts in ways that Canadians will engage with them. Harper has mastered twisting reality to his own worldview and tapping into Canadians gut-responses. In the absence of any reasoned alternative, he gets support, even if grudgingly. Bit by bit, Harper gets a firm hand on dictating instead of governing.
That needs to end and Trudeau needs to show some backbone. He also needs to show some sound judgement so Canadians will actually care about what he says. Being flippant during the debate on the very serious decision about Canada participating against ISIS shows neither. The decision wasn’t about whipping out the F-18s or if humanitarian aid trumps military action. The decision was about putting our Canadian military in harms way and if it was wise. Trudeau contributed no substance.
We Need Real Leadership
Canadians need to know that he can and will make the tough choices. And that he’ll stand up for what is right for Canada.
So, will I in the end support Harper over Trudeau? Right now, I support neither with any conviction. I find myself horrified that I may have to actually look at one of the other two parties, something I have never done.