The Federal (Anti-) Election 2011 in Canada - Part 3 - The Personalities and Issues
As previously discussed in part 1 and part 2, the election was triggered by the fact that at the time there was a minority government and there was an ever increasing bitterness between the opposition parties and the government. This lead to a non-confidence motion by the opposition party which succeeded.
As previously mentioned, this series of article describes the current very confusing election of the Federal Parliament of Canada from the perspective of a recent immigrant to Canada. In this part, the leaders of the major parties and the issues discussed will be presented from the described perspective.
Due to the already existing bitterness between the opposition parties and the government, this election turned out to be very hostile and nasty. The negative commercials started long before the election. In fact, the conservative party, probably pro-actively to discourage the leader of the opposition from forcing an election started negative advertisement against Mr. Ignatieff long time ago.
Taken all the negative advertisement, the negative statements by the leaders about each others, and the negative statements of the punditry in the media, especially someone with not a lot of history in the Canada could receive the following or similar impression of the leaders of the major parties.
Stephen Harper, the incumbent (minority) Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, seems to be a dictatorial control-freak, who wants to spend millions of dollars on fighter jets to bomb abortion clinics and wants to abolish universal health care in order to build mega-prisons all the while scrapping any gun control. He wants to abolish unnecessary elections and Parliament which is just a nuisance that does nothing but ask inconvenient questions and holds him in contempt. Instead he intends to rule as King while abolishing government financing for the parties, before abolishing all government due to repealing all taxes.
Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberals, on the other hand, seems to be a Russian aristocrat, descending from the Romanian Prince Vlad, turned Harvard professor, who is a tourist in Canada whose real citizenship is in the USA. He only came back to Canada to become Prime Minister for himself and is opportunistically flip-flopping in his elitist way trying to find a way to hide his blood-sucking tax and spend liberal agenda. All the while, he misses most votes in Parliament (probably due to most of them happening before sunset) and hence does not deserve a promotion to be Prime Minister. Since he cannot win the election he plans a coup d'etat to overthrow the government after the election commencing a long planned, reckless coalition with socialists and separatists.
Jack Layton, the leader of the New Democrats (who are the Old Democrats anyway?), seems to be the twin of Stephen Harper since both are just two sides of the same coin. He wants to build a perimeter security fence to protect Canada from its evil Southern neighbors. His team does not have enough players on the ice and hence will never win. Jack wants to jack up the corporate taxes and balance this out by giving the speculating banks a new commodity in form of cap and trade to get the lost profit back. He promises the moon and believes money grows on trees.
Gilles Duceppes, the leader of the separatist Bloc Quebecois, seems to play only defence since he is only interested in the benefits of Quebec, which in his opinion should be a separate country, and otherwise does not get involved in any federal politics. He is willing to support any government or coalition as long a Quebec receives its bribes.
Nobody seem to have targeted the Green Party leader Elizabeth May in this election. In contrast to the 2008 election she was not allowed in the leaders' debate and hence was mostly ignored also by the media. Unfortunately, after all her complaints about her banishment from the leaders' debate, which she described as undemocratic, she did not attend the leaders' debate of the other parties with no members of Parliament. One cannot avoid to point out her own hypocrisy in this.
Other parties have been mostly ignored by the mainstream media, which is unfortunate. Maybe more attention to them would have brought more focus on issues as happened in some debates of local candidates in which candidates from smaller parties attended.
Obviously, there are plenty of embellishments, but this is what this election seem to have been about. It could be expected that there might be regional differences in the attacks. Mr. Duceppes was in this location mostly ignored and only referred to in regards of the reckless coalition with separatists. It stands to reason that inside Quebec, he probably was the primary target since his party, the Bloc Quebecois held the most seats for the province during the last Parliament.
As already the impressions raised by the opponents about the leaders of the parties indicate, issues took a back seat in this election. The main issues seem to be if there would be a conservative majority or a coup d'etat of a reckless coalition/collaboration/alliance... (the terms seemed to change due to denial and verbal maneuvering).
This is unfortunate since there should have been plenty of issues. This blog has raised the issues around intellectual property law before, but no mention about those in the national campaign. Metered Internet was also absent. Even important issues like pensions were mostly absent. The leader of the New Democratic Party ran on this issue, but only on a one-sided way which will eventual create generational wars. He wants to double the current payments to pensioners, but did not talk about the sustainability of his proposals nor of the pension system in general. It is amazing that voters allow politicians to get away with avoiding these important issues to be discussed.
In fact this election seemed from the beginning to be an "anti-election" as stated in the title of this series of articles. What does this mean? A democracy should work in the way that voters have positive choices. That they can go to the ballot box and vote for something they are convinced they want and that will help them and the nation in the future. However, this election seems to be solely about what people don't want. They only choices seem to be - no majority government by the Conservative Party for one group and - no reckless and unstable coalition for the other group. This is why this blog has decided to call this election an "anti-election".
Read more about the election campaign and last minute events for this election in part 4 (currently not available yet - will be published shortly)
Read more about the background of the election in part 1 and part 2