I’m at a Political Crossroads. What should I do dear readers? EDITORIAL Jamie Gilcig – Cornwall Ontario – March 28, 2010

In my political life I’ve only voted three times.    It’s not that I’m apathetic.  It’s not that I don’t care.   It’s that to me when I vote for someone that means I not only endorse them, but they represent me.   I’ve supported a lot of candidates; worked for quite a few as well, but in the end I’ve only voted for 3.

There have only been a few politicians I’ve really liked, and when I use the word like I have to filter that by saying that I “like” ugly things that are imperfect but really functional and have a certain something.

Jean Chretien for example is a flawed man, but some of those flaws helped create the very things I most admired about him.     Even our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper,  whose politics I find repulsive, I find a certain attraction to.

I think Gilles Duceppe could be Prime Minister of Canada if he gave up on Quebec Independence like most of the rest of that province as I think he at times is an electrifying politician.

Until 2009 I was a card holding Liberal federally.   I haven’t always, but have for the majority of my political life.   I have supported non-Liberal candidates because I’m issue centric as a voter.   If I feel for example that Medicare is the number one issue I will vote for the party I feel can best have the most positive impact on that issue.

That’s not an easy feat to figure out because clever politicians can say things that mean things that they don’t say.

Then there’s the situation where the party you want to support doesn’t have much chance of winning.  What to do then?

I don’t think Mr. Harper and the current incarnation of the Conservative Party even have a wish to save Medicare, and probably would like to privatize it right after killing the CBC.

The Liberals?  Well as much as I hate to say this I find that the civil war is still going on and frankly the difference between the current Liberal Party and the Conservatives is simply which shade of Vanilla you’re into on a given day.

That leaves us Federally with the NDP and the Green Party.    They both are intriguing options but do either of them have the ability to have any impact anytime soon?

For the Jack Layton led NDP to achieve the kind of numbers it would take would be some major mathematical political successes.    Thomas Mulcair would have to find a way to get 15 to 20 seats in Quebec and that my friends would be no easy feat as much as it makes sense.  As Mr. Mulcair put it, NDP politics are very much the things that Quebecers want without the all or nothing issue of Separation that the Bloc and Parti Quebecois have owned in the province.

The Greens while being a voice in the wilderness still have a ways to go although I do admire their goal of having a minimum income for all Canadians something I truly agree in.

I think what I’m looking for is a party that wants a strong Federal government; that protects medicare and embraces it as the spirit of what makes us Canadian, that respects peoples right of choice in life; respects business; especially small business; appreciates accountability, and maybe just maybe reinstate the death penalty for pension sucking swine like Clifford Olson.

Doesn’t exist and probably never will.   So my fellow Canadians should I just tuck my head down to the keyboard and stick to writing about what options we do have or do I hold my nose, put those rose colored glasses on and try and go with the party that has the best chance of accomplishing something positive?

Feel free to post your comments below.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

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  1. Jamie. This is not a perfect world and that includes our Federal political parties. If we can only accept the perfect, then I think we would all become hermits or would just refuse to vote. Political parties are made up of all kinds of different people who are trying to bring about change, change that they tend to generally agree with. I have voted in every Federal election and have voted for three parties over that time. The Liberals usually reflect more of the progressive values that I tend to agree with, even if they often do things I don’t like. The present day Conservatives reflect very view of my values about life and I will never vote for them under their current leadership. In the past, I have voted for Progressive Conservatives, especially under the short-lived leadership of Joe Clark. I like a lot of what the NDP stands for but I don’t like their extreme anti-business and anti-trade views. So maybe your last line, where you hold your nose and vote for the party that has a chance of doing something positive is your best choice. The word positive can only be defined by individual voters, by you. By not voting at all, you are encouraging parties that may be pursuing something negative, at least according to you, and taking the country in a direction that you do not want. Elected governments are the ones that make the rules. If you do not vote, you have no say in the rules that finally emerge. Perhaps you have to hold your nose and then vote for the best of a bad lot or vote for the best of a good lot as life is not perfect. Sometimes, you will not have to hold your nose because there might be a party that reflects much of what you believe but not all of what you believe. The symbol on your crossroad sign is a + sign … choose the party with the biggest plus and the least negative … but do vote. Good luck on your journey down the road of life.

  2. Yes Jamie VOTE…….and vote often.

  3. Problems I have with a minimum income, include, will it replace welfare? If it does then our tax rate may be the same. Would it remove some initiaive from people to stay in school and work for money or be happy to coast?

    Do we really need CBC in this day and age? A full discussion is needed since the Internet and satelite can bring news and programs everywhere. I believe they could compete, but not on their own right away.

    With costs the way they are in our hospital system, some serious discussion needs to be done. As long as I can use my plastic card when I get sick, I do not care if the nurse is making 20 or 25 dollars, but needs to make minimum education standards. Not picking on nurses, they are the health care system to me, but wages and benefits can not just keeping going up.

    As we approach muncipal elections this year, provincial next and federal anytime, we need to organize our wants and needs with groups of like minded individuals, and shout loudly.

  4. Author

    Hi Eric,

    I say do away with all social financial support programs and have a simple guaranteed income. No more disability, welfare, pension, EI, and simply have the infrastructure of one simple program.

    It’s about redistributing the wealth of Canada a bit, and it’s also really good for business. The lower the income the more of it is spent locally. Keeping dollars in the community is always a good thing. Also, if you reduce poverty you reduce the ills of society. Less crime and costs associated by it. Less health issues thus reducing the load on our healthcare system. Reducing the infrastructure costs of implementing all those other systems of support also saves some money.

    It doesn’t remove the impetus to work; our current system does that right now in that there’s a desperation and hopelessness for far too many people at the expense of far too few.

  5. Jamie: Keep doing what you are doing. Providing a public forum for reasonable and respectful discussion of the issues of the day. With this forum, you help to supply oxygen for our democracy, which is being regressively stifled by the Harper government. In plain terms, what is happening to the Canadian values of decency and fairness under Harper’s watch? And who is acting to defend them?

  6. I agree 100% that a single universal guaranteed income program would be the most efficient way to go. Unfortunately, the “ruling class” will never allow that to be implemented for two reasons.
    1: They need large numbers of people working for starvation wages in order to maximize profits.
    2: They need the threat of homelessness to keep people in line and working longer and longer hours.

  7. So, are you saying that the answer is to give large numbers of people starvation wages to do nothing?

  8. Author

    Hi Thorin,

    What I’m saying is that we have governments that collect large amounts of money from us and for us and then “they” decide how to spend those dollars. Here in Canada for example we choose to pay for Medicare. In a world that is largely becoming Corporately driven rather than Nationally driven we sadly have to legislate at this point the government to share more “fairly”. A guaranteed minimum income would solve a lot of social issues and I believe help local economies.

    Recently during the recession here in Canada our government chose to spend billions of our tax dollars bailing out car companies and banks yet millions of Canadians were not only left out to dry; but had to foot the expenses. There even were issues with Banks not passing on interest rate drops to consumers.

    When I suggest a guaranteed minimum income it’s not to “give” people money to do nothing. For one thing in most cases it’s their own money in that Canada collects billions on resources and other income that belong to all Canadians.

    What I suggest is that for us to ever get a grip on high taxation and medicare costs we need to start to be much more accountable for our financial welfare and let we the people of this country have a greater say on how these monies that the government collect get spent.

    This antipathy we see in politics today isn’t coincidental. It’s by social design, and frankly it’s scary. Some people think our politics here in Canada are becoming more like the Americans; but from where I’m sitting they’re looking to more and more imitate Russia’s.

    I’m a firm believer in Capitalism, but I’m more a believer in Social Capitalism where the monies that we allow the government to collect do more for society as a whole than just the right people who go to the right parties and belong to the right clubs.

    It’s time to break the “Old Boy’s” networks up and take back control of our country’s future and destiny.

  9. Admin,(is that you Jamie?) are you suggesting that the ruling elite should give up some of their wealth in order to feed and house the less fortunate? You realize of course, that publicly stating radical ideas like that will put you in the sights of the RCMP and CSIS. Be careful my friend.

  10. Author

    lol, furtz 🙂

  11. You should listen to Robert Fowler’s speach to the Liberal party at thier weekend thinkers’ conference.


    You would have to listen to it yourself but what I got out of it is that all the parties are playing partisan politics and do not have a vision for all of Canada. That to me says that we only deserve a minority government until someone steps up to the plate and starts to consider what is best for Canada and Canadians as a whole and not what is best for their party.

    Until then I will continue to advocate for Rick Mercer as supreme dictator.

  12. I did see the speech Reg, and I thought he did a great job calling out all the parties on their many glaring weaknesses. Ignatieff seemed to agree with some of his criticisms, but it remains to be seen if he is capable of acting on any of it.

    To the issue at hand. I am an avid non voter, and have been all my life. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do vote municipally, I avoid both provincial and federal elections. Not out of apathy or ignorance, but out of disgust. I do believe in democracy, but in definition only. As in a government by the people, ruled by the majority. Unfortunately we live in a capitalist democracy, where the many are ruled by the few. It is not relevant whether we elect Liberals or Tories, they both represent the business class, the wealthy elite. And when they are finished with the techincalities of an election, it is back to business as usual: screwing the working man/woman out of tax dollars and creating loopholes and tax write-offs for the rich.

    So I say forget voting. But let them know it. Don’t just stay home on election night. There are ways to properly spoil a ballot which forces them to recognize and count them. It may be small, but its all I got until the revolution starts.

  13. Politicians can say things that mean things that they don’t say. Ah you been voting Liberal. Like I will not raise taxes, then the HST , E-health almost 2 BBillion in vain, yet we have hospital lay offs. Jamie vote for the person speaking the truth then hold them to it. Looks like the Liberals will be held to it this time around. Their pre-election spending and hard working Jimmy Burnell will not be enough.

  14. Author

    Dave I have always been mystified of this issue of politician’s speaking the truth. Do you really believe people want or expect that? Do you think a politician can always say what they truthfully mean? I don’t think any politician that did that would ever get elected. It doesn’t mean that everything that comes out of their mouth is a lie.

    Politician’s define themselves by their actions, deed, and word. An example being that I find our Prime Minister very distasteful and a danger to our Canadian society and culture, but I certainly understand and fully see his “Brand” based on his word, deed, and action. While I may not agree with his politics there’s not too much hidden or “false” about our PM.

    Now what I really despise in Politicians is when they get caught! Don’t say one thing and then do the exact opposite. That only works in Carnivals. The tough on crime and then spanking Rahim Jaffer on the wrist is getting caught big time and nobody respects that; not even Conservatives. Right?

  15. Jamie
    As I read your article I can see issues that are of the largest wrongs in Canada. People believe everything is their right.

    You asked for a government that treats health care as and I quote “protects Medicare and embraces it as the spirit of what makes us Canadian” Is health care unique to Canada? or is it just the fact it is free which makes it unique?
    Europe has been decades ahead of us on treating health issues for years. Here we visit a Dr get a prescription and or placebo.

    Maybe if we paid for it people would abuse it less, health care officials would not be able to manipulate the system as they do i.e. beg for money and reduce services.

    We already have a minimum income in Canada and everyone has access to it. I think your concern is everyone should be rich. Need I remind you Canada was built on, no health care and jobs that bordered on slave labor. Though it was difficult we all made out better then ok. Now we are all fat selfish and expecting more for less. Kind of like our health care and government more for less.

    The government respects people’s right of choice in life, but if you so choose to walk down a path please do not force the whole country to live it with you. Your choice is your responsibilities not mine.

    Reinstate the death penalty for pension sucking swine like Clifford Olson. I’ll flip the switch

    The standards and freedoms we have are a direct result of the publics’ fought and scratched tooth and nail for what we the public have asked for.. We have had so much for so long for so little that the preverbal well is empty. We did it Jamie Canadians one and all if government steps in and institutes change we the people asking for change are the first to complain.

    As for future parties, Green has it right they just lack leadership.

  16. Author

    s’mee I am not suggesting that the government make everyone rich. Right now the amounts we give people range from an unlivable amount under $1000 per month to nearly $2,000 per month depending on the disability.

    Again, if we had one program with a reasonable amount of money per year I think the benefits would far more outweigh the potential negatives.

    As for Medicare; what we get out of it should be what we want of it. If we, as the Canadian public want our government to provide free Universal healthcare then it’s up to our elected officials to get that done with as little corruption and waste as possible. Negotiate the best deals with drug companies and service providers. Treat the stake holders fairly. I know those are simple words and a difficult task lies ahead if we’re to save Medicare, but that’s the reality.

    You just can’t keep throwing money at an issue hoping it will go away.

  17. There already exists a reasonable amount of money. However the amount is an opinion, unfortunately there is no pleasing anybody on that amount.

    Having what you want in medicare is why it is in bad shape now. What we seem to neglect is we are not the Dr yet we complain when they provide the service and expect more.

    I have been a diabetic for many years, I can share with you some true BS stories on drug companies. In short for many years they have been getting close to a cure….I should be able to pay my taxes the same way,
    Yes Mcguinty I am close to having the amount.

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