The Upcoming Canadian Federal Election
The Parties and Leaders

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We are confronted, in this election, with the saddest collection of leaders possible.

Leading in the polls is a man who believes that political expedience is, above all, the paramount concern. Prior to his election as leader of this country I wrote him a letter. Roughly, what it said was that there were Canadians living overseas, paying Canadian taxes, who could not vote in the referendum (being held at that time - in the early 1990's). I had requested his input (and support) in changing this. It didn't seem fair, or appropriate, that a Canadian, paying local taxes, should be barred from voting in Canada when others, ie, the military, could vote. The fact that military personnel, ambassadors and other political figures living abroad could vote suggested to me that solutions to this problem were already in place and there was no reason this condition should persist (let alone exist). Mr Chretien's response? "Vote 'Yes' in the referendum." In other words, "It does not suite me to involve myself in this issue, it is not relevant to me so I will simply not respond to your direct question."

Watch, if there is a way for Mr. Chretien to ignore your question (unless, of course, he can score big political points) he will. Let us remember, it is widely understood that, in the last election, each time Mr. Chretien spoke his rating in the polls dropped. He didn't really win the election, Ms. Campbell lost it. Mr. Chretien just happened to be there.

So what does Mr. Chretien stand for? I'm really not sure (except, of course, for getting re-elected)! He has NO intention of changing the GST (let alone scrapping it). If you want to know what he really said in his last campaign, why not ask your local television station to rerun those news files?

The cuts in employment are seriously overrated. What happened to these people who were cut?

Have you asked yourself where the hundreds of thousands of jobs (that the Liberals created) are? They're in government. Departments closed, services were reduced, buildings were abandoned and civil servants were moved to other departments. The cuts were, and are, smoke and mirrors. Mr. Chretien is the great deceiver.

What you will see is Mr. Chretien, once again, saying as little as possible during the course of this election.

What about Mr. Charest? His platform is a bit of a surprise to me. He stated, "The Conservatives have always been for Canada." Mr. Mulroney proved otherwise.

Mr. Charest denies the true Conservative history. He doesn't look ahead, rather, he looks back and seems to be saying, "what errors of our modern history can I repeat." Perhaps he would like to revive the failed "Charlottetown Accord". I've heard him say, "Give Quebec 'distinct' status" (which is the cry of every other party) and "The Liberals are wrong." He has said "We will cut taxes." He has complained about the rash of layoffs in Ottawa. How does he propose to cut taxes, maintain employment levels, restore the civil service, build his floating castle (in the sky) and all those other things he seems to want to do with money? Perhaps he would like to enslave Canadians to do these things for free... Personally, I'm not impressed. By the way, has anyone else noticed that Mr. Charest's promises (taxes, Quebec and the budget) are exactly the same a Mr. Mulroney's were? (Mr. Mulroney didn't keep any of them either, infact...)

Mr. Manning is interesting... So far, he has proven he's a thief - not much else. You and I, the general Canadian public, would be charged with possession of stolen property if we had turned up with the Liberal's new "Red Book" prior to its release. It is my personal belief that Mr. Manning, as with all other politicians, will do what ever he has to for power. I don't trust that he won't take racists (again) or separatists into his party to accomplish his objective.

Ms. McDonough, oh, Ms. McDonough or, as we lovingly refer to her around this house, oh, "Ms. McDonut"... Doesn't she understand anything? We can't spend our way to riches. Did her daddy never tell her, "A fool and his/her money are soon parted"? Oh my, oh my, oh my. She wants to spend us into the poor house so we can have money. Someone should tell her that if we can get out of debt the problems will fix themselves through increased confidence. It's true that you must "spend money to make money" but we cannot afford to pay our debts now. Any successful financial manager will tell you that you don't profit by increasing uncontrollable debt. You spend what you have, not what you don't have. This is a fundamental principle of effective financial management and if we do increase taxes to the rich (those that can afford to leave) they will leave and if you leave that debt for the middle class, it will just be a question of time before they are poor too. Haven't we heard enough in the past years about the shrinking middle class?

Sorry - nothing to say about the Bloc - they're just hypocrites who are looking to milk Canada before they pull out taking, and keeping, anything they can. They are a bunch of immoral b_st_rds and I can't even see taking them seriously as political leaders in Canada. Since they claim they wish to be an "inclusive" society, it is notworthy that they are the only Canadian Federal party who's web site is unilingual.

It is unfortunate but Mr. Harris (Ontario's premier) is (basically) right. We cannot afford the level of services that we've been taxing for in the past. (No, I don't think we should be paying his green fees or laundry bills - that's [more than] just ridiculous. After all, a salesman who has his suite dry cleaned isn't even allowed to deduct that from his taxes.)

If we can eliminate our debt we can (and should) restore social services. If we can get control of our debt the economy will improve, business will be excited about establishing itself in Canada and unemployment will fix itself. In the meantime, we must, as individuals, be as generous as we are capable and help organizations like the food banks, homeless shelters and drop-in centers.

What are the differences between the Liberal and Conservative parties? None, really. A hundred years ago, the platform of the Liberals was that of the Conservatives today. They believed in free trade and business oriented politics while the Tories were, by today's definition, Liberals. The only objective I've been able to see of any party in power in Canada is to keep power at any cost. The only objective I've been able to see of any opposition party in Canada is to say that the party in power is wrong.

Unfortunately, we have not had real leadership since the Trudeau era. I believe it was time for him to leave (I believe he stayed a little too long) however, we have not seen statesmanship or Canadian leadership of that caliber since Mr. Trudeau's departure and sadly, we will probably not see that kind of leader in this generation of Canadian politics.

What are the differences between the leaders? They all want to give Quebec "distinct" status (except, of course, Mr. Manning and Duceppe). They all want to rule (not run) the country (except, of course, for Mr. Duceppe - who wants to run from the country). They all (except for McDonough) want to cut taxes (or so they say) and they all claim to want to decrease unemployment (I don't believe they really care). I see no substantive differences between one and the other.

On Quebec Inclusion

Am I the only one who remembers? Our reporters (eg. Jason Moscovitz - Chief Political Correspondent for the CBC) don't seem to. Quebec was never excluded from the constitution. They elected (under Mr. Levesque) not to sign the constitution. Let us not forget the history. While living in Quebec I opposed distinct status. Now that I am outside Quebec I still oppose distinct status. It is my belief that Quebec will not be happy without complete and total rule over the rest of Canada or separation. Quebec has stated, under no uncertain terms, that they will not accept distinct status if it is also given to any other group. Who more than the natives deserve to be recognized as distinct? Newfies have their own language and their own lifestyle. They don't even live on the continent. Vancouverites, once again, live on the other side of two major mountain ranges. Their lifestyle, as is their climate, is quite distinct from the rest of Canada. They are Asian in many ways. Their second language, according to some, is English. Even the prairie provinces are distinct in their life styles and geography from the rest of Canada. Sorry, I just don't think that Quebec's clamor for recognition as being the only unique society in Canada is valid. They are only different in their language. In every other way, they are quite like the rest of Canada. Indeed, they are very much like the rest of North America.

Quebec has, through its own actions, excluded itself. Canada has a law forcing French on all product packaging in every province. In Quebec you will find packaging with French only. French is permitted on signs in every province outside Quebec. (Need I say more on this issue?) My grandparents ran from Europe because of oppression and risk of life. Well, I don't believe, at this point, there is any real risk of life but I will not have government telling me how to live and think. It is not the place of a majority to do this either - certainly not when it interferes with individual rights. Had I grown up in a house where French was my first language I would still feel the same way. Let us remember that the "not withstanding clause" was invoked to make Quebec's (otherwise unconstitutional) language laws legal. Now that legal use of the "not withstanding" clause has expired, English Canadians in Quebec are being persecuted, contrary to the constitution of Canada. Quebec, by its own actions and inaction, excludes itself from the rest of Canada.

With all these nincompoops running for leadership of this country, how do we choose a leader? Well, that points to fundamental problems with our political system. It really doesn't matter who runs in your riding, you'd still be voting for the leader of the party of which he is a member. I, personally, am considering the local independent. If someone can think of a real good reason for voting for one of the established parties, I'd like to hear it - and don't try feeding me this "If you don't vote for one of them, your vote won't count" crap! If I had the choice, I would want to see Mr. Charest as prime minister but I would not want to have the Conservatives in power.

Here is what little I do know... The government doesn't create lower interest rates or lower unemployment. All the government can do is help to create a good climate for investor and consumer confidence by controlling debt. If they can keep control of our finances, everything else will follow. We don't have to throw money at corporations, we just have to demonstrate that we can control our finances without taxing them to death. We don't have to tax individuals who earn a good living into the ground to create a good consumer climate. Neither do we have to throw massive cash gifts at them. We have to allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labour, while making their contribution to society, or we will find they don't want to pick those fruit in our back yard. We need to hire good money managers for our political offices.

COMMENTS posted here may be edited for length and/or language but not for substance

"I believe it is inevitable that we hand over the running of the country to business.... If a business would operate the way the government does, the whole management would be replaced." A. Mitsche - April 15, 1997.

"I ... can't say that I disagree with you." R. Gale-Deslauriers - April 15, 1997.

To read Yvonne's earlier paper on Quebec politics, please go to Oh Canada!!! or to read my earlier paper on Quebec politics please go to ...Oh Quebec.

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Posted April 14, 1998
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