Saturday, April 30, 2011

Time to decide on the kind of politics we want....

This should have been an election about ideas, an election on Harper's record over the past five years, an election about competing visions of the kind of Canada we want now and in the future. 

Sadly this election is none of those things. 

This election is about something far more basic...its about democracy and how we practice it in this country.

What Canadians must decide on Monday is if we'll endorse the politics of 'anything goes'.  Do we endorse a form of democracy which puts personal attacks and winning at all costs above things like openness, integrity and the issues.

Stephen Harper has lowered the bar, lower than I ever thought possible in this country.  He didn't have to do it, he chose to.  Never ending election style ads designed to smear his opponents, only allowing reporters to ask him 4 questions per day while campaigning, refusing to answer questions on what he'll do if he fails to win a majority of the seats in our House of Commons.

This is our democracy, we the voters decide how it is conducted.  Sadly it might take only 1 in 3 votes for Stephen Harper's scorched earth version to be validated. 

That's why I am urging every eligible voter in Canada to do their civic duty on Monday and take the hour or so needed to cast a ballot in this election.  And if you feel the same way I do, I implore you to get as many people as possible out to the polls. 

The last time we voted roughly 10 million Canadians stayed home, and Harper's Conservatives came within spitting distance of majority rule, despite gaining less than 40% of the overall vote.  But that's the way our democracy works, those are the rules, and until or unless that rulebook is changed (meaning our Constitution) then that's the system we have to work with.

I am worried about what will happen should Harper fail in his crusade for 155 seats, I hope he does fail but I'm still concerned about what actions he will take if faced with losing the title of Prime Minister. 

If the majority of Canadians choose to be represented by Members of Parliament other than Conservatives, that's democracy.  And if Stephen Harper cannot put forth an agenda that gains the support of a majority of MPs representing a majority of the electorate in this country, then he will once again lose the confidence of the House and it will be incumbent on another leader to try to try and gain that confidence.

That's the way our system works.  You don't have to like the rules, but they must be respected.  Many Canadians don't like having a Prime Minister whose party is only supported by little more than 1 in 3 Canadians, but the integrity of our system demands that we accept it. 

Please Canada, do not endorse Harper's Machiavellian approach to the practice of something so fundamental and important, our democracy. 

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