It would seem that many of the pundits and plaudits have endorsed their favourite candidate or party for the imminent 2011 election. As one who predicted on Jan. 1 that no such election would even be happening, it would be consistent that whoever or whatever I endorse will lose.
The Conservatives lost my vote a long time ago, when they turned principle on its side in favour of political power and broke their 2008 election promise. For almost anyone and everyone I’ve spoken to, they don’t seem to have a problem with the shamelessness of this act.
Nobody could have known the extent of the financial meltdown, they will say. Nobody could have anticipated the sort of economic upheaval and revenue shortfalls that would result in the massive deficits that the Conservative government authored in 2009 and 2010, they will say. But I have little sympathy for that argument.
Stephen Harper was unequivocal in his promise to never go into deficit spending, under any circumstances, ever again. Believing him to be a man of principle, I voted for the party in 2008. It won’t happen again, or at least not until “regime change” puts someone with more conviction behind his own absolutist statements.
Had the man said he would prefer not to go into deficit, or would try his best not to, it could be something. But the only way the Conservatives could win the previous election was to run on the simplistic platform that it was the only political party not offering an economic collapse, juxtaposing itself to the grossly negligent Liberal Party and their Green Shift.
Sound familiar? They’re doing pretty much the same thing this year. And though I don’t necessarily disagree with the idea the Conservatives would run the fiscal ship better than the Liberals, and certainly better than the NDP, when you’re setting record debt levels it comes as little consolation.
It isn’t just the deficits either. It’s the way the Conservatives do business in power. They’re controlling, secretive, openly contemptuous of procedure, disrespectful, assumptive, patronizing and self-serving. It isn’t so much what they say as how they say it, as the old expression goes.
So more of the same doesn’t seem very appealing at all. More contempt for what Canadians think, the media who inform them and the voters who believed their lies. As a voter I couldn’t in good conscience go with them, even though I believe they may be least damaging to the country.
In some respects I agree with Andrew Coyne’s invented dichotomy of how badly the opposition parties might ruin the economy versus how badly the Conservatives might ruin democracy. But in the end he endorses the Liberal Party, who under Michael Ignatieff might just represent one of the weakest political choices since Kim Campbell.
Clearly the Liberals are not a serious choice for Canadians, hence the reason the NDP are polling at nearly 30 per cent of the electorate for a full week now. And though the NDP have the most unrealistic economic plan of all the choices, there is an allure there for many voters in the same way the allure existed for disaffected voters in Ontario in 1990. Sick of the blue and red, voters gambled with orange. Unfortunately for Ontario that was a poor gamble.
The NDP do not present a viable alternative for anybody with an ounce of fiscal conservatism. Their party is full of people who have program wish lists that would quickly bleed the federal coffers and require either an increase in taxes or a reduction in spending, likely coming from such unpopular places as the military. We don’t need one anyway, right?
The Green Party isn’t worth considering even as a protest vote, steeped as they are in the irrelevant environmental activism of a carbon tax economy, which has already proven a staggering failure in British Columbia. It isn’t just that the Green Party has no hope of becoming relevant soon, but the leadership under Elizabeth May has pushed it from a mainstream centrist party of sustainability (a good idea in and of itself) to a fringe leftwing group echoing similar NDP-Liberal policies that already exist.
What choice remains then? Well, none. But that’s still a choice. On May 2, I intend to walk into a voting booth and select nobody, as that is precisely who is out there representing my interests right now. Should that change in future elections I’ll certainly consider it. But Monday is a vote for a more representative democracy, beginning with my expression of contempt for what it is now.