Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Poor Canadians - voting on two non-starters

It's funny living in Canada these days. The next federal elections are probably closer than those in the USA yet the gun-toting Alaskan governor and her five children are higher on the Canadian agenda than local politics. There's no big surprise in this.

The current conservative minority government is run by a mean-spirited populist politician (Stephen Harper). His main claim to fame are a failed foreign minister (he left secret documents with his that time girlfriend, a woman with reported links to a local biker gang), a health minister whose main claim to fame are attacks on a harm reduction facility in Vancouver (the facility offers drug addicts access to clean needles as a means to reduce the occurrence of infectious diseases among drug users), cuts of federal arts programs, and other populist this-n-that. While these sorts of activities undoubtedly are designed to rally his redneck base, Harper would not stand a chance in hell to get a larger share of the vote in the upcoming elections (the economy is tanking...), the Liberals have kindly come to his help.

They elected Stephane Dion, a likeable but inept academic turned politician. In the middle of a serious economic crisis in the country, sky-high energy prices just ahead of another long Canadian winter his main claim to fame is to have proposed a tax increasing environmental policy. Our environment is important, very important, the policy is comprehensive and pretty good to my mind, BUT it isn't a straightforward bread-and-butter issue for most voters, so he's on to a losing streak. Indeed, that's what all the polls are showing. Dion's Liberals have also kept the Conservatives in power by means of not voting down their legislative program in the parliament for the last year or so.

So, the Canadians are faced with a mean spirited redneck who offers some kind of leadership versus a kind spirited liberal unable to offer any kind of leadership skills. No wonder they're watching CNN to see how things pan out south of the border...

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