Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sock it to them - Go Cannucks!

This is an ongoing UFO (unfinished object) - obviously this one is done, but its partner is only half done... sigh. One day soon, new socks for me.

The inspiration for this post is surprisingly an excellent newspaper article by Margret Atwood.*** I feel like I finally have a label for my political orientation - swing voter. I'll quote Ms. Atwood's definition, as she says it much better than me:

What parties are peddling, changes from election to election - and often enough what they peddle is somewhere between fantasy and shameless lies, but that is a story for another post. My preference is when possible to choose the best local candidate. I figure an election is a giant job interview for a large and varied in experience hiring panel. I want my parliament to be full of competent, caring, compassionate and passionate people. I want someone to represent me and my riding who will make me feel proud, not ashamed.**

The caveat is that we know that the party platform and their leader is a big part of what you are being sold. Often parties are selling a lot of the same options in the package. Sometimes the Liberals seem more like Conservatives and sometimes they seem more like the NDP. With party values shifting left and right over time, I am likely to shift my vote to the candidate/platform combination that I feel is in the best interests of my country or at least will do the most towards thwarting the least desirable outcome for my country. I think that makes me guilty of being both a swing voter and even worse a strategic swing voter - no brand loyalty - I'm going to need to be convinced each time and even then I might vote for my second choice if my first choice looks hopeless.* Regardless, I take voting very seriously and have missed voting only once since I turned 18.

If you haven't read Margret's article yet (to save your brain after my convoluted rambling), what she did is pair up vales she wanted vs. values she didn't. I think she hits a lot of nails on the head. ***** The truth is that I am proud of my country and the notion that Canada's are caring and responsible people and frankly, if my taxes are going to pay the salaries of 308 federal politicians, I'd like to get my money's worth out of all their talents and skills with all of them working together to make my country better. I also strongly dislike being lied to or being mislead. I expect politicians to have their ear to the ground, and be willing to change their policies when the hear Canadians disagree with it - even if it makes them look indecisive. I'd much rather a flip-flopping politician that listens to their electorate than one that will stubbornly push something through so they don't have to explain why they changed their minds. I want my leader's to have a positive vision for Canada and focus their time in parliament on achieving goals, winning future elections based on their strong leadership, rather than on how much money they raised to air attack ads and how much time they wasted in parliament trying to make the others look bad.

So, enough sermonizing, find the things that you want for Canada and vote for your vision or vote for an amazing local candidate that will bring skills and wisdom to our government. Mark May 2nd on your calendar and go and vote. There were ridings won and lost over as few as 17 votes last year - so your vote could count a lot.

***[I qualify this as surprising because I once went to the length of searching the university book store to figure out which Canadian Literature prof would not make me read Margret Atwood - which amusingly meant that I ended up with a white-haired, bushy eyebrowed professor using yellowed hand-written lecture notes from his Dalhousie days - which isn't to say I didn't enjoy the course because surprisingly I did (in spite of it being an English credit that I was forced to take because of my program). I might have to read something by Margret Atwood now - just to see what I missed. (suggestions welcome)]

** (I was in Wajid Khan's riding a few years ago - you can look his storied history on Wikipedia probably)

* {I tried out CBC's Voter Compass tool - which was kind of neat to see where my stance was relative to other parties. Some of the parties had stances on issues that surprised me too.}

***** and she probably hasn't been suffering through all the partisan fantasy ads being shown with hockey. I'm at the point that I have to mute the TV to repress the urge to throw something at it and I think one of the main reasons that I'm glad that this election is over soon is that I can go back to cheering for the Canadian teams without having the distraction of hockey complicated with reality. Go Cannucks!! Go Habs!!****

****[As I'm more optimistic about hockey than politics, next year I plan to be cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs all the way to the Stanley Cup finals]


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