View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Who’s Listening to Canadians? Is Anyone? – February 26, 2011

Ottawa ON – The latest round of political opinion polls has a message for the opposition parties-focus on what matters to Canadians.

While the so called Bev Oda scandal allows opposition politicians to hyperventilate with outrage in Ottawa and the media and political pundits are beside themselves over how not answering questions that were never asked is unacceptable and the end of democracy, average Canadians are largely ignoring them.

If the opposition think Canadians driving their kids to a 6 AM hockey practice care about Bev Oda, they are wrong. Asking the Prime Minister (even when he isn’t there) virtually every question in Question Period and blaming him for every ill in Canada doesn’t work either. Canadians aren’t stupid, they don’t believe every mistake or issue is the personal responsibility of the Prime Minister, so why waste their time pretending that it is?

While many of the issues that do matter overlap both provincial and federal jurisdictions, Canadians want them solved quickly and without the usual federal-provincial bickering and self-serving political grandstanding that usually characterizes these issues. Where is the focus on healthcare, surgical wait times, take-home income, high heating prices, gas prices, cancer treatment, mortgage costs, interest rates, the environment, pensions and income tax to name but a few?

For far to long Canadians have watched the politicians in Ottawa kicking sand in each others face in our parliamentary sandbox. They are turned off. Whatever happened to Michael Chong’s suggested reforms? If some of his suggestions had been adopted the Oda saga might have played out quite differently. Simply put, Canadians don’t care about the issues our opposition politicians are telling them to pay attention too. The message from Canadians to the opposition politicians is that they should listen to us for a change.

While the government might appear to be getting a pass, there has not been a dramatic change in polling numbers in the Conservatives favour since the last election. The message here is you are doing better than the opposition parties, but you have a long way to go to earn our trust. Tell us your vision for Canada and tell us how you are going to make my life and the future for my kids and grandchildren better.

Eventually one of the parties will actually listen to Canadians and come up with a plan to address the real issues that matter. Eventually voters will see some common sense solutions that they can buy into. Until that happens Canadians will continue to tune out.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Framed Photography Cornwall Free News Schnitzels


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