When it comes time to vote, we the electorate are susceptible, even gullible, swayed by TV sound bytes and images crafted by marketing gurus; the worst example is the throng following Donald Trump. Surely we in Canada don’t want to be like that!
When Justin Trudeau walks toward you looking all doe-eyed and sincere in those television ads, are you reacting to an image that advertising magicians burn into your brain or, if you like him, are you choosing a leader with skills and ability? Keep in mind, what Trudeau did in cutting loose Liberal senators was the only constructive act to improve the senate we have seen in the midst of all the controversy about it in over a decade.
Would you vote against Tom Mulcair because you don’t like his beard or because you fear left-wing politics? Mulcair has historically been a Liberal and his formidable performance as an Opposition leader in House of Commons debates is backed by experience, a depth of knowledge and a sharp mind.
Both those leaders would likely make good prime ministers, and since this election is all about choosing an alternative to Stephen Harper, if you don’t like him or what he does, your challenge is to determine which one, Mulcair or Trudeau, is the better choice.
An attractive pick as the best possible leader for Canada is Elizabeth May, for what she says and what she stands for seems to resonate with what should be the true Canadian character.
The hope of the Conservatives is that the vote will split between the two so they can slip through and retain power. The move in 2003 to “unite the right,” forming the federal Conservative Party was brilliant. It’s kept the Conservatives in power since.
The centre and left of Canada’s political spectrum remains divided, to the delight of Conservatives. On the other side, if you are not a Stephen Harper fan then you will have to vote strategically. That means waiting to make up your mind until the end of the campaign, then going with the party that has the momentum to beat the Conservatives.
An attractive pick as the best possible leader for Canada is Elizabeth May, for what she says and what she stands for seem to resonate with what should be the true Canadian character. Unfortunately for her, a vote for the Greens will take a vote away from one of the other two Harper opponents. A vote for the Greens is a vote for Harper.
Many Canadians are dedicated to one party, like sports fans with a favourite team, and will vote for them regardless. Others vote for the best riding representative, selecting a Member of Parliament who will do the best job, regardless of party affiliation. There is a third component to how the country is run that we voters unfortunately know little of. Party insiders have a huge say in how policy and legislation are developed and executed by the party in power, but they remain nameless and out of sight.
Consider the power of the current Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the role of young guns there revealed in the Mike Duffy scandal. It is now common knowledge that at the core of all that the Conservative government does is a powerful group of young, unelected Conservative Party stalwarts who run its actions. They tell Conservative MPs what to say and do, and formulate – even dictate – legislation. They essentially run Canada.
In addition, there is a powerful group in the background, mostly men, old-school Conservatives who have tremendous sway over government policy.
If you like Stephen Harper with his carefully coiffed hair and his open at the neck dress shirts, keep in mind that is an image and he is but one man. When you cast a vote it is for the whole package – including the young guns of the PMO who run government and those backroom old boys who have influence.
In fact, that will be a similar situation no matter which party is in power. A vote for who we feel will serve as the best local MP, or if we place an X for the party we believe has a leader who will do the best job running the country, whether it be for the Conservatives again or the NDP or Liberals to replace them, keep in mind that beyond the leader who is the face of the party is an unknown team that will have a very important role in how government is run. Try to find out about them. When you cast your ballot, you are voting for them too.