Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And the band plays on


I find that I haven't taken the time to post anything on either of my blog's lately, owing partly to my instense efforts not to get behind this term and partly due to the fact that as a result I haven't taken or painted any pictures.

Well, actually I did paint some pictures, but they really didn't turn out that good and I'm getting close to finishing my second pair of mittens, but otherwise I've been imersing myself in first year economics for engineers.

Economics, at the level that I'm studying, have a seductive logic. It is certaintly a different way of looking at government policies and there effects and side effects. It is interesting as this study also coincides with a rabid election campaign. This imersion has not swayed me to Harper's side or any side for that matter. I'm still rather undecided about who to vote for and what to do. I am planning on voting and I am spending time researching my options.

My boyfriend and I have a friendly disagreement on the subject of strategic voting. I suppose there are many strategies. The one that come to mind for me is voting for the party with the greatest chance to win against the party you can't stand. Having had the misfortune of being a teacher under Mike Harris's regieme, I had no choice but to vote against him because his policies made me crazy. Unlike many people, I don't have a specific party loyalty. Considering how similar the platforms of the 3 federal parties are (I would say they all fall withing the liberal range of things ) it really comes down to capabitily of the politicians in the party.

Another strategdy I've heard of is in BC where they vote for whoever did poorest in Ontario. Being from Ontario, I don't really see us as a national threat, as we've never threatened to seperate, but then I probably count as biased.

Back to individual competency and honesty of politicians, I think this is hard to gauge. It appears that all three parties have had their share of corruption and scandal (Even the NDP in BC, whose record outdoes the liberals at present.) I don't have a lot of background knowledge on how politicians are selected or the kind of contract they have with the people of Canada. Oddly, this was never discussed in my years of public school. What qualifications do you need to be a representitive or a cabinet minister? Not a lot of formal ones if you consider Mike Harris. How do you screen for people who might jeapordize the party's repuation? How are candidates educated about the ethics around political issues? I think one problem is that local representives have so little impact on the outcome. A few rare and hard working idividuals can sway the support of their riding in spite of the leaders platform, but by in large we vote for the leaders and the party platform and few of us know anything about our local representive. So perhaps the voter is as much at fault for the failure of the political process.

Many voters certaintaintly don't take the time or effort to research the Party leader or their policies, nevermind follow national debates, news or pay any mind to the abilities, qualitifications or merit of their local politicians. Even though their local representitives are the ones who will be bringing the issues of your community to Ottawa. A lot of people simply decide when they are young that they are affiliated with this party or that and thus there is no point in worrying about he details.

An election campaign is a job interview, we are hiring (as a collective hiring committee) the men and women who will be running our country and making policy decisions. They will be instrumental in developing our representation on an international stage. So, what should your voting strategy be? (Even voting for the party you believe in regardless of their chance of winning is a strategy, one that has important benefits for that party in terms of status even if they lose.) I want to hire a competent leader backed by a competent team. I want my local representive to be someone committed to bringing my communities issues to Ottawa in an effective way. I want to hire someone that I trust to share my values of country that looks after its people and its environment. How shall I cast my vote most effectively?

At any rate, there are 6 days until election day for me to figure it all out. I encourage everyone to vote thoughtfully.




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