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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Complacency is the Canadian Way

How often do any of us take the time to sit down and really think about how we plan to vote in a public election? How many of us actually weigh the pros and cons of our choices, look at the broad view rather than the immediate impact and actually make an informed decision? My opinion is purely antidotal, but I bet very few, if any of us, really do.

Take for example the current government in Ottawa. The Liberal party has had control of the country since the days when a bar of gold was actually more expensive than a gallon of gas. They’ve been through scandal after scandal and have shown their contempt for public opinion time and again, yet they retain power. While taxes continue to eat away at any loose change we may have in our pockets and while securing funding for everything from health care education is a constant battle for provinces, the federal surplus becomes more obscene year after year. Yet there they remain.

Why do we continue to elect officials who don’t answer to their constituents? Are we so gullible as to continue to believe broken election promise after broken election promise? Are the spin doctors that are paid for by our tax dollars so good that they have the entire population hypnotized?

I’m the first to jump on an issue when I feel the powers that be are not doing the right thing, but in reality it’s not the governing party that’s at fault in these situations, it’s the public. That’s right, you, me and every other voter out there (and especially the 50 to 60 percent of the public who don’t vote) who are ultimately to blame.

We see it time and time again. MPs like Gerry Byrne from Newfoundland and Labrador who misses as many votes in the House of Commons as he attends, or Minister John Efford who continues to curl up at Paul Martin’s feet like a well trained lap dog, even at the expense of his own constituents.

A prime example of this type of blind voting occurred in a by-election in Labrador. The voters of the Big Land were in a position where their Liberal man in Ottawa had sadly passed away. The Liberal government was in a position where they needed every single vote they could muster if they hoped to avoid a non-confidence vote and retain power beyond the summer. What did the fine folks of Labrador do? They elected a Liberal of course and helped cement the party’s powerbase, rather than taking the opportunity to elect an independent. This was a chance to elect someone who would only have to answer to the electorate, not a party, and could force some real attention on Labrador issues like the survival of the 5 Wing Goose air base. Go figure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not endorsing any particular party or candidate, just the concept of educated voting for a change. The “blind voting” phenomena is not just a Newfoundland and Labrador issue either, though those where the examples I used to illustrate the point. If it was, it wouldn’t be the end of the world since the seven federal seats the province has is only a blip on the national radar. No, it’s a nation wide issue and one that should have every one of us hanging our heads in shame.

We are all like a bunch of dogs that have been kicked by our masters for so long, we’re afraid to do anything that might even resemble independent thought or movement. God forbid we should take some time to review the voting records of our elected officials. It’s too much work for us to sit and think back over a government’s previous term in order to see how we really feel they performed. No, it’s much easier just to wait for a candidate to show up at our door or a local bbq and which ever one looks the friendliest can have our vote.

It’s no big deal, after all, it’s only our future, our money and our lives that they have in their hands when the go off to Ottawa. It’s not like they’re doing anything important. I mean complacency is the Canadian way.

2 comments:

NL-ExPatriate said...

NL Politics sky is blue

Excellent piece once again Patriot.

I've been thinking lately how hypocritical we Canadians have been in criticizing the American electorate (People) for re-electing Bush. When obviously everyone in the world could see how corrupt he was with the lies, deception, and goings on in Iraq.

First of all we only see what the media shows us. From watching CNN I'm a firm believer that it is either controlled by the US government or heavily influenced. Even our own CBC was slighted the other way during the initial Iraq liberation. I took to watching the BBC because I found it to be the most impartial observer.

It's kind of like what color is the sky in your world? What ever the powers that be tell me it is.

I'm a part time DX'r Short wave radio listener. I really enjoy listening to what color the sky is in other parts of the world. For example one night I was listening to Radio Cuba and they were talking about all the same news but with their own spin. Anti American for the most part. The truth for the most part but the truth as they saw or Castro saw it LOL.

Sure would be nice to have a NL short wave station. Our government is holding up the release of satellite radio for similar reasons I think. They want to keep the color of the sky as rosy pink as dictated by CBC.

Don't get me wrong CBC rebroadcasts some other country's news broadcasts like minded mostly. I especially like late night CBC radio when they rebroadcast other countries like south Africa BBC, Australia, Russia etc.

If you want to know what’s going on in your country look outside it. If nothing else it confirms your own beliefs and knowledge.

As for people not voting!
People died for your right to vote!
People are still dying as peace keepers to help others have the same rights and stop others from taking away your rights.

Now an organized and concerted effort as an opposition by the people to the existing political system, in the form of either a boycott or separation party might effect change in the UNDEMOCRACY we are apart of.

307 seats of which we hold 7 LMFAO
Our neighbour has 75
Unbelievable really I can see why people wouldn't want to vote federally anyway. Provincially we'll they are our own.

Maybe they should allocate seats by land mass at least then there might be a better representation of Canadians, and not those Border hugging wanna be Americans who now have the majority of seats.

Hey we don't even need to separate all's we need to do is not vote federally, as a protest at the Undemocracy called Federal Canada. No referendums no separatist movement just plain and simple we don’t care about federal politics because with only 7 seats of 307 why bother.

Another option could be to unite with the other MINORITIES LOL provinces to accomplish like minded goals. Talk about your minority discrimination it’s built into the system and inherent. Who’s gonna change it? Not the ones who are reaping the benefits. Kinda like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop.

Nah people will never get together enough to be effective. Besides they will threaten to stop sending UI and old age pension checks. It stopped Quebec from separating.

What you forget though is that these checks come from moneys you contributed and were invested on your behalf. It's not their money it’s your being managed on your behalf. They can't stop sending the checks but they could be forced to turn it over to you to manage. Why do you think Quebec has its own pension plan now? QPP.
The Newfoundland and Labrador pension plan, NLPP. I even paid into the QPP, will I ever be able to get a QPP check I don’t think so.

The teachers demanded this, now there pension fund is broke, and they're begging for pay raises for a 6 month work year. 6 hours a day 8 months of the year yea about 6 months.

MrChills said...

I think we have the battered wife syndrome here in Canada and of course even more so in Newfoundland. We have been beaten down for so long, but still we stay with the person inflicting that pain. Why? Maybe it is because we think that it could be worse with someone else and we are used to how things work today.

The problem in Canada and as the problem is in Great Britain as Bush’s right hand man Tony Blair was reelected, is that as bad as the current government is, the other choice on the ballot would be worse.

Having lived in the United States of Embarrassment for the better part of five years, I feel that when I listen to the Conservative party in Canada speak they are somehow familiar, and just an extension of the view points held in the USA.

No matter what Government we have in power they are going to be somewhat corrupt, that is the nature of politics. How corrupt each will be is the question, but I feel that whatever party was in power for this long in Canada there would be scandals.