Friday, October 16, 2015

You Were Right Kim, An Election Is No Time To Discuss Serious Issues

Back in the 1993 Canadian General Election the then Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell, in a moment of candor declared that "an election in no time to discuss serious issues," and judging by the manner in which the 2015 Canadian General Election has unfolded, she was right, at least with regard to how the traditional media has covered what has been an excruciatingly long electoral campaign.

For those who are serious about their politics, it is possible to visit each of the political party's websites and download each platform to see where the parties stand on various issues.  Moreover, an elector can seek out the candidates in their riding to seek out further information, but that's not how the vast majority of Canadians exercise their obligations as citizens to be well-informed.  In fact, most Canadians rely on the sound bytes and video clips proffered by the traditional media to determine how they will vote.  Consequently, complex issues are dumbed-down and image replaces substance during the campaign.

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Don't get me wrong.  There are some very serious concerns that need to be discussed like how Canadians can position themselves in the fast-changing global economy, the sustainability of the health care system, and, of course, what to do about climate change, but that's not where the media focuses the electorate's attention.

For example, the Canadian Government has agreed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), a trade agreement between twelve Pacific Rim countries that are responsible for 40% of global trade concerning a variety of economic policies and trade practices.  Problem is that no text has been released, so, as a result, Canadians are being kept in the dark about the details other than knowing that the federal government is already prepared to come to the rescue of dairy producers at a cost of four billion dollars and another one billion dollars for the auto sector.  Seeing a tight-fisted government throwing money at what have already identified as adversely-affected sectors gives me reason to think that people should be able to know the details of the agreement before they vote in a general election.


Discussing the details of the TTP won't sell newspapers and won't get people to watch television commercials or click on Google ads. So, what do we get, a cheap mash up of various images strewn together in a maudlin five act play.  In Act I, we saw images of the participants of the Senator Mike Duffy criminal proceedings.  What did the Prime Minister know and when?  In Act II, the body of a small Syrian boy washed up on a beach started us to question if maybe the government had a part to play in the refugee crisis happening in Europe.  However, in Act III, we were shown the barbarians at the gate in the guise of a Muslim woman who had the audacity of wanting to wear the niqab during a citizenship ceremony to become a Canadian citizen.  Tensions were rising, racial slurs were being tossed, so fortunately during Act IV, attention was focused ever so briefly on the TTP, giving the entire electorate the opportunity to cool down and watch the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball in their quest to win the World Series.  This much needed break gave way to the final Act, which is essentially the call of the first-past-the-post electoral race: the Liberals have broken away from the pack, the NDP are fading, and Stephen Harper's Conservatives are whipping their old horse of tired, worn out ideas as hard as they can, but to no avail, they can't keep up with the guy with the nice hair.

That's it.  That's the 2015 Canadian General Election in a nutshell.  Like I said before, when it comes to politics nobody does boring better than Canada.

Now, how about them Blue Jays!!!

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