Monday, January 16, 2006

Let's Talk Politics

Topic at Hand: Canada Federal Election, 2006 edition

So there's an election coming up, eh?

Fun times.

Now, as I like to think the best of people, give them the benefit of the doubt as it were, I'll assume that we're all among Liberal-voters here. I assume that primarily because although there are 4 main parties this time around, there is really only one choice. After all, we are Canadians.

I like to think that Canada, as a country and as a people, is about social values. It's what we're known for, it's what makes us strong, and enviable. So on election day, I plan on standing up for my country, and doing my part to make sure that new Canadians, young Canadians, and future Canadians, all have the chance to grow up in a country they can be proud of.

Liberal, to me, is not a party, but a way of life. It's about tolerance. It's about celebrating diversity. It's about giving a helping hand to those in need, be they fellow Canadians down in luck, impoverished people not lucky enough to be born here, or victims of catastrophe from anywhere else. Liberal means making choices that are good for the soul first, and good for the pocketbook second.

I don't believe that conservatives are bad people, I just think they have bad memories. They are trying to run a campaign based on the fact that the Liberals have made some mistakes. They conveniently forget that it was a conservative government who gave us the GST in the first place, and that even in their wildest campaign promises, the conservatives still only offer a 2% decrease at best. They forget that the last time they were in power, their party was rocked by an enormous scandal and that Brian Mulroney was the villain leading the least popular government in Canadian history. And they forget that even conservatives themselves are unsure of themselves: throughout the past century, they have struggled to define themselves, to align themselves with this party or that (when they recently joined forces with the alliance party, many "conservatives" jumped ship). However, I applaud anyone who is working for their country, and I am proud that Canada has room for every voice, whether it dissents or not. I hope that every question raised will be taken seriously, and will help to shape the future of our country.

I am not a Liberal. I am a Canadian. At this point in time, protecting the integrity of my country and ensuring that it remains a home I can be proud of means voting Liberal. I hope that in the future, when the party is a little more stable, the NDP will become a viable option. I think they're headed in the right direction and I believe they have some solid ideas for a greater Canada. For now, it's Liberal, or bust. And I'm okay with that, because when I look back on the past years of my life here, I like what I see on the whole.

I like balanced budgets.

I believe in universal health care.

I support same-sex marriage and equal rights in general.

I respect Canadian art and culture, and would like to see more of it.

I believe in funding social initiatives such as child care, literacy programs, retirement savings plans, and help for families with special needs children.

I believe in a woman's right to choose.

I'm glad we're peace keepers and not war mongerers.

I look forward to a greener Canada.

I am proud to welcome immigrants to our great country, and consider them an asset. I think cultural diversity is a beautiful thing.

I expect greater strength in Canadian farming.

I think capital punishment is inhuman and inhumane.

I appreciate efforts toward foreign aid. I believe in debt relief and that many innocent children rely on us to save them from the AIDS epidemic.

I think the war in Iraq is wrong. I pray for the souls of the dead - for all of them.

I think the very idea of Stephen Harper as the leader of anything is just plain baffling.

I think the Liberals are the likeliest candidates to uphold these values. I also think that the Liberals have a lot of work to do. Canadians deserve to have confidence in their elected officials. I am not naive enough to believe that political scandals will ever cease. They are the nature of the beast. Whether Canada elects a Liberal government, or a Conservative one, or a Martian one, people will grumble, money will be lost, corruption will creep in, at some level. As a voter, and a citizen, it is my job to hold these people accountable. Responsibility does not belong to a group of officials, or to Paul Martin; it belongs to all of us.

Canada has been Liberal since 1993, winning the past 4 federal elections. I was just 12 then, so as far as I'm concerned, the Canada I grew up loving is in fact a liberal country, and election results over the past century confirm this statement: the liberals have shaped our country into a great place to live, and a respected nation.

But regardless of whether you decide to vote for the conservatives, the liberals, or even if you show up to eat your vote with a side of bacon, I'll just be glad you voted at all. Apathy is for jerks and Americans. And don't you give me that shit about choosing between the lesser of evils. Yes, it's a tough decision. Maybe you don't like the choices. Too bad. Life is about making decisions. You owe it to your country.

Ladies and gentlemen, cast your ballots.

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