Wednesday, June 30, 2004


More politics

I have spent, for me, an inordinate amount of time wrestling with the question of the Canadian political landscape and Monday's election. By all accounts, this country should be led by either a much smaller Liberal minority or a Conservative minority. How did we get to where we are today? Then I was reading comments left on Jason's blog and I think I got it.

Business Week has some articles that were part of a feature in an issue a few weeks ago. The feature was titled "Does Your Vote Matter?". It is a lengthy discourse on the ills of the American democratic system and how it can/should be fixed. While we don't use the American system here, there's a big problem with our system and it's the inordinate weighting of Ontario.

106 of 308 parliamentary seats are in Ontario (over 30%), meaning that, if you carry Ontario, you're going to Ottawa running the show. In Ontario, there is an unhealthy paranoia around health care. There is also a moral free-for-all in Toronto and the GTA. The Liberal machine pushed EXACTLY the right buttons to bring Ontario voters to heel and they were:

- You will get Alberta-style health care
- You will get more Mike Harris-style service cuts
- You will lose your freedom of choice on all moral issues (abortion debate will be reopened, buh-bye Gay Pride week, see ya same-sex benefits, etc.)

Ontarians will take lies, deceit, graft and other forms of corruption with a grain of salt. They will express outrage for a few days or weeks and then it will all go away. Martin's problems (Adscam, Mcguinty's budget, etc.) were fresh in the voters' minds at the start of the campaign, but eventually Ontarians relaxed. Then Martin and the village idiot went on the attack. Presto, watch Ontario go back to the left.

Now Harper's hosed. He had his chance, the right-wing wildmen within his own party torpedoed him, although I (and others) were saying "right on". Harper will now be associated with right-wing extremists and will never be given the opportunity to forma a government. Here in Canada, the moral right is slowly becoming minimalized and, I fear, we may have lost our last, best chance to vote in a government that could show average Canadians that morally sound leadership could be effective. I suspect that, once the minority crumbles, the Liberals will ride back to power in 2006. Either that, or the vote could become so polarized that we will endure minorities for the foreseeable future.

Depressing, no?