If you read the news, you’re probably aware that after the 2008 crash the financial problem was ‘fixed’ by injecting skrillions of dollars into some of the biggest companies in the world, deemed ‘too big to fail’.
If you’re an astute reader of the news, you’re probably aware that this was one of several necessary measures to prevent paralysis of the global economy, but that many of the others measures, such as the regulation of the whole fiscal casino that has made so many worthy executives into billionaires, were ignored. We’re still ravaging our ecosystem (and using it to drive to the Gigaplex), undercutting our economic base (outsourcing and mechanizing Canadians’ work in pursuit of next quarter profits), and waging atrocious wars all across the globe (killing millions and costing trillions).
If you are a careful, thoughtful, and critical reader of the news, you are aware that the Liberals and the Conservatives are both complicit in the edification of these now rotting structures, and that both Mr. Harper and Mr. Ignatieff underestimate both the scale of the crises and the intelligence of Canadians. They don’t seem to expect us to remember that they lead parties responsible for the current strength of corporations and their privatizing pull. They don’t want to talk about the state of the environment, the welfare of First Peoples, or the wars in the middle east.
Friends, if we’re going to get out from under all of these dozens of impending world crises, we need to move. If we’re going to come out on top we’d better have a plan in mind. We need to frankly, fully, and quickly evaluate our lifestyles- we need to think about the things we consume and the ways how we get them. We need to decide what Canada is before we can decide effectively what Canada will do.
I have my own vision of Canada. In my Canada, it’s not about making money from health care, or education, or war. My Canada is a great place for everyone who finds themselves here, whether their great-grandparents were from Timmins or Timbuktu; whether they are gay or ‘ethnic’ or speak French. My Canada is a place where no-one wonders where their next meal will come from, how they will pay a babysitter, where they’ll spend a week of January nights. My Canada is not about unlimited material wealth, it is about unlimited opportunity.
In this election, the only credible candidate who comes even close to sharing this worldview, and who is not complicit in the creation of the whole mess of problems to begin with, has a ‘stache. His name is Jack. The only person I trust to stand up for me and my family when it’s us versus Exxon is Jack. The only party filled with people and ideas strongly connected to my communities- the arts community, the youth community, and the student community, to name a few- is his party, the NDP.
In this election, the best possible parliament squabbles and does nothing, and the worst possible parliament transparently attacks the underpinnings of our society. Neither of these will suffice to resolve Canada’s problems, but at least one of them is easy to visibly and loudly oppose. But it doesn’t really matter in the end, because our problems are global in scale, and so while Parliament is important, it’s not the most important thing by a long shot.
After this election, it will take a whole government, not just elected MPs, but hundreds of thousands of people engaged in the work of making Canada run effectively. It will take reasoned opinion, informed dissent, and dispassionate consideration to guide our state, and it will take millions of Canadians to get up, get active, and make a difference to fuel the fire. If we all reach out to touch lives, then we ourselves will be touched.
This election, don’t vote for a strategy, don’t vote for the winner, don’t place the burden of the election on your own head. Vote for your vision of our country, and we’ll see how many of us agree about what. And then we’ll talk about it on May 3, when the real work begins.
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