I’ve recently been seeing Facebook posts from well-meaning Canadians demanding that candidates refrain from dirt-slinging this federal election season. Some posts even declare that such behaviour will cost their vote. This is particularly troubling, because it smacks of childish petulance and we need to be so much better than that. I mean, what, in protest you’re going to vote for the other guy? Abstain? Please.
Dear ??, respectfully, it sounds like you’re somehow missing the big picture. We have a responsibility to get informed on the positions our parties are taking. Who cares what the campaign ads are saying? It’s just marketing. Ignore the promises and stick to the facts. There are things we know. Conservatives will cut public services and deregulate business, trusting the free market to do something about the environment. The NDP will expand public services, curb corporate malfeasance, and promote green investment. They believe we should pay taxes and fully enjoy the benefits of paying them. The Greens are a one-platform party who work most effectively as part of the opposition. The Liberals want to get all the oil out while it’s still worth something, even at massive risk to the environment. They believe corporate investment will fix everything, even though it historically doesn’t. They are incentivizing green development, but simultaneously massively subsidizing fossil fuel companies (that’s not new, but I do think it needs to be wound down). You may disagree with my characterization of the parties, and that’s great. I welcome debate because it means you’ve gone to the trouble of getting informed. And that’s what we desperately need right now – a population that knows as much as our elected leaders.