Being raised in a family whose parents took their politics very seriously, I learned the importance of voting (at a young age). We (5 children) were encouraged to think for ourselves, yet at the same time we were expected to vote as our parents did.
In my lifetime, the Liberals and Conservatives have alternated holding power in Canada. Recently I have witnessed a great deal of change in the political landscape. The most notable change is the division between Eastern and Western Canada.
The Green Party grew roots (slow to take hold) over environmental concerns and the separatists movement in Quebec gave birth to the Bloc Quebecois (a party that represents one province, yet has the ability to hold all other provinces and territories hostage).
The Liberals and Conservatives have granted large subsidies and tax breaks to corporations that generally settle in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. With nearly 60 per cent of Canada's population living in these provinces, many Canadians grew to resent that form of political favouritism. This concept gave rise to western alienation parties such as Wexit, Maverick and Buffalo Parties. All parties have either remained in power or attempted to push their own agenda. Each one of these parties have their own priorities that often weakens our democracy.
Having a political edge is definitely the biggest change in the landscape. Whether it is out of lust for power or response to voter frustration, politicians now focus on their opponent's faults rather than promoting their own strengths (one which I will discuss now).
The one party that has consistently stood for all Canadians is the New Democratic Party. Their policies speak to the problems created by the two parties and their continuous governmental rule. Some critics of the NDP's policies call it socialism which will lead to a welfare state. Not so! New Democratic policies are geared towards all Canadians not just the wealthy. The government we have today is a corporate welfare state which does favour the wealthy.
Most federal programs promised today require the citizen to pay the money upfront before you can receive their reimbursement.
This excludes the majority of people who would benefit because of very tight budgets. It's a “me first” policy. A perfect example of this is the conservative candidate Fraser Tolmie who voted himself a huge raise while Mayor of Moose Jaw as many businesses struggled to stay open under large civic tax increases imposed during the pandemic.
I urge everyone to become informed by listening to all candidates with an open mind. Pick the candidate that suits your values. Vote, Vote by mail, Vote at the advance polls, you can even vote today by going to Elections Canada office at 36 Athabasca West and write in your candidate's name. Please participate in our
Canadian democracy and vote on Sept 20th election day.
-- Fran Millar
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.