MORE IMPORTANT THAN READING THIS: GO OUT AND VOTE ON OCTOBER 14th. NO EXCUSES, JUST VOTE!
So, with just one day left until elections start, I'm going to give my personal run-down of each of the parties - something I meant to do, heh, a day or two after the Leader's Debate(s).
So. First off, I'm going to start with our current (crap-for) government. I'm trying hard not to let my own biases get in the way of sounding balanced and sane, but I hold a lot of hate for the Conservative Party of Canada. I hold a lot of hate for Stephen Harper, and I really hope that the majority of Canadians remain ever vigilant and cautious about this grade-A douchebag. Watching the debate, I really just wanted to smack Stephen Harper's smug "I-think-I-got-it-in-the-bag-therefore-I-won't-actually-debate" smirk off his face.
To start, here's a Conservative TV ad, swiped from the Con's channel on YouTube:
I chose this ad because it really stands as a shining example of why the Conservatives are a terrible choice for leadership: they assume that they don't need to worry about Canadians having enough brain power to want to hear about -what's it called...- issues. Hell, they figure, just smear Stephan Dion's name enough and all will be well.
For this entire bloody campaign, they have been smugly going on about how terrible the other parties are - how their economic plans are flawed, etc, etc. What they continuously forget to mention is that it seems that the Cons always give up the government just after they've used up the surplus that the Libs created. That's right, Libs and Cons may both be scheming, lying bastards, but at least the Libs balance the bloody budget. This year, the Cons also, oops!, forgot!, to release their platform until last week. At this point, I haven't actually made the time to go over it - it's a pretty basic Con platform.
It goes a little like this: tax cut here, tax cut there, give a little tax cut everywhere!!! Now if you're lower middle class or impoverished, you're saving something like $200 a year - but to afford these cuts that make your nobility (oops, I meant, the upper-middle class and the rich) lots of extra money... oh, yeah, about those arts programs, the environment, hell, even the whole job issue... let's just SLASH. Oh, yeah, good luck with the pending economic DOOM!
And, next up to bat, the Liberals! Oh, those good old classy Liberals, the ones who have provided my two favourite PMs in Canada's history: Pierre Trudeau for his policies, social reform, all round "good-guy" appearance in Canada's history (except when you remember that small occurrence in Quebec... ), and awesome sass: "The government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation!", "Just watch me!" and so forth; and Jean Cretien for his absolute ridiculously inappropriate sass and willingness to mock himself on the Mercer Report, even if he was a corrupt bastard. (I'd like to see Cretien kick Mercer's ass, actually, but hey, can't get all my wishes). Stephan Dion might actually be my favourite party leader these days - well, he was, up until the Leader's Debate. Get into that later.
Here is the Lib ad that, for me, most summarizes what the Libs have been saying:
Now, some people say that this is just as smeary as the Cons' ads, but I'd argue that this is fact-based, rather than an all-out "Gamble on Dion and die" approach. Because these things did happen. I remember it happening - especially calling Ontario the last place in the world to invest. God, Ontario actually needs to start crucifying its Conservative party members, the way that they have been treating us. But, outside of Toronto and the other major cities, most people seem to have the ability to clamp fists on their ears and yell "LALALALA".
Nevertheless, to talk about the Liberals: I like the Green Shift plan. It's not perfect, no, but it's a step in the right direction, which is a hell of a lot more than the Con plan is (reduce 20% of emissions by 2020? Right, by then we've all asphyxiated already). And there really is no perfect way to reduce emissions, other than going back in time and stopping "progress" in this direction.
Now, social programs, not bad. Support for the arts? Not bad. Economy? Not the classic laissez-faire approach, but hey, that approach certainly didn't help the poor fools who elected Conservative governments in the 1930s, did it? It was the more left-wing, "socialist" approach that saved that day, and I strongly believe the same goes for this day. Most of this, however, can be applied to the slightly less corrupt NDP and Green platforms.
The other thing I'd like to say about the Libs is about their leader, Stephan Dion. I honestly believe that Dion is the best federal Liberal party leader since Trudeau. He might not be overtly heavy with the party whip, and keeping his party in perfect line, but that is what democracy should be, baby! Now, I don't think Dion has everything to be desired, etc, etc. But what has driven me crazy about this election is that he has been facing slander from all sides - and yet he slugs on. The Cons slander him. The NDP slanders him. The Green party... well, they really haven't insulted anyone except Stephen Harper, and I think it was just. Hell, even some members of his party have been insulting him (quietly since the election was called). Most of all, though, ALL THE MAJOR NEWS NETWORKS IN CANADA have been saying: "Stephan Dion is a weak, uncharismatic leader" constantly. And it changes people's opinions. I've heard people quoting, over and over again, these reports. And you know what? I think Dion's got charisma. And I think that he's shown fortitude, maturity (which many world leaders tragically lack), the way he continued to stand strong against this shit, and really hasn't whined about it. So, I say: "Stephan Dion, you have my respect."
On to the NDP!
I'll be honest. I like Layton's politics, I like Layton's party... I just have never really liked Layton himself. I don't know why. He's just never really captured my heart... Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Layton shares the same policies as his predecessor, and yet, he's not called names, like "Sausage Face" on talk radio. Oh, wait, she was a woman. This makes her policies unimportant, instead, her appearance takes precedence! (I'll add a full blog about this eventually, I've got a list of female politicians in this boat).
Anyway, NDP is the party I'm most likely to vote for. And here is an ad that, for me, summarizes the campaign. Enjoy:
The NDP is probably my favourite party in Canada. Unfortunately, they never win, and when they finally do win, they are far too surprised themselves to deal with their own political success. In fact, I think that they do best in coalition with the Liberals, because the Liberals keep grounded in the Capitalist reality.
Anyway, this election, they're yammering on about just about everything that I feel is important to me. Things like... oh, creating Canadian manufacturing jobs. You know, maybe Canadian companies, making Canadian goods? Instead of letting companies like General Motors fuck us over again and again and again? Oh, yeah, and doing things to help create a bit more social justice? Like, you know, closing the gap between the rich and the poor? Sounds good, don't it?
Oh- yeah - the cap and trade versus the carbon tax? Same policy, different phrasing. Layton, Dion and May need to get the fuck over it. They're basically all proposing the same thing - except the Liberals are, indeed, central rather than left wingers.
Well, try telling that to people in my riding...
Finally, last but not least, the Green Party! (I'm going to add - there is also the Bloc Quebecois, but they really only run in Quebec, which is roughly a 10 hour drive from my current location, speeding the whole way. Nevertheless, I respect them, and don't hate them for wanting to protect Quebec culture).
Anyway, the Green ads are really low budget in comparison, so... enjoy!
To start, Elizabeth May is probably my favourite party leader this time around. She approaches things in a level-headed way and responds intelligently. She seems to honestly believe in making Canada a better place, as well as the world.
The Green Party platform seems like a proposal to create Utopia. It is, unfortunately, absolutely impossible without the support from the entire world, by which I mean, most of all, the world's big "superpowers", ie, United States and China (yes, I think China is going to have its say in the future).
Last election, the Green Party almost stole my heart from the NDP, until I read their platform. Last time, it was a very Conservative platform, and I was angry at it leeching votes off of some of the NDP's less attentive flanks. I maintain, actually, that it would be for the best if the Green Party and the NDP merged - NDP keeping a strong focus on social justice and the Green half keeping a strong focus on environmental justice. And, yeah, slap May up there instead of Layton, because Layton's just never been an excellent speaker. He makes me cringe sometimes. (Although don't get me wrong, I do respect him... I just respect Elizabeth May more). It would be nice to have some measure of guarantee that the Green Party won't blur itself into the right wing end of things.
In conclusion, I'd like to see Harper lose by winning an extremely narrow minority, opening the show for a coalition between Dion and Layton's parties. I'd like to see May get a few more seats, but not if it means throwing off the NDP's base.
I feel, however, that I support the classic ABC Voting Strategy - Anything But Conservative. I'd rather have another Liberal majority and a Conservative one.
And to complete this, some messages from a not-quite major party contender: Neorhinos!
My French is not astute enough to understand all of this, but it's still awesome:
Neorhinos on CBC
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find their "Cubeq" ad, in which they propose to merge Quebec and Cuba to create a new national drink- lots and lots of Cuban rum with just a touch of maple syrup.
I love the Neorhinos!
And a wonderful reason to avoid the Cons:
More important than anything:
NO EXCUSES! JUST VOTE. Please, vote anything but conservative, but JUST VOTE!
(If you're an American, please, for the sake of the entire planet, just vote Obama. We all beg you.)