As I was sitting in northern Italy, the domes and spires of ancient cathedrals peaking above the rooftop gardens and terracotta shingles of the buildings across the river, Canadian politics should not have been at the top of my mind. Yet I still found myself checking Canadian news on my phone from time to time on my recent vacation.
Italy has seen it’s share of political turmoil over the years, from longs eras of relative peace and stability under benevolent leaders, to war and hardship under greedy and corrupt dictators.
Modern day Canada is a remarkably stable country. People will exaggerate the outcome of this election, suggesting that one result or another will spell doom for our great nation. I have some pretty strong feelings myself about the three main contenders, most of them not very positive, yet four years of any of them will not ruin the country. All of our major parties are fairly moderate, and we should be glad for that.
That is not to say that this election is inconsequential. I, like many people, feel that the country is drifting in the wrong direction, and this election is my opportunity to send a message.
A few of the ways that I feel Harper and his government has drifted off track:
- While pledging to increase openness and accountability when first elected, Stephen Harper has done the opposite.
- While criticizing massive omnibus bills as a member of the opposition, Harper has taken them to new clarity-destroying extremes.
- Harper is impeding progress on climate change — possibly the most important global issue today.
- Harper has steered Canada away from a balanced approach to foreign policy, one consequence of which has been the loss of our traditional seat on the UN security council.
- Harper has attempted to ramp up cultural divisions under the false pretense of increasing our safety and security.
- Harper has pushed the limits of our constitution and laws, repeatedly losing challenges to the supreme court.
These are only a few items on a very long list, but in short, Stephen Harper is not governing in the best interests of our country. He is governing according to his personal beliefs and ideology, and in the process he has sacrificed his integrity and has dispensed with any form of honest debate on his policies.
This is unfortunate because I believe the Conservatives would be better managers of our economy. I can’t help but be concerned about what a Trudeau-lead Liberal minority might do with the NDP holding the balance of power. However, as I mentioned in a previous post, economies are pretty resilient. They have to be poorly managed for a pretty long time to collapse.
What I am more concerned with now is the integrity of our government and particularly our Prime Minister. For this reason, I cannot vote for my Conservative candidate, yet I have difficulty throwing my support behind any other party without some reservations.
I am still not sure what box I will check in the booth and I may not feel great about my decision afterwards, but at least I will wake up the next day knowing that whoever wins, our society will not collapse into ruins.