I normally enjoy following politics. Be it federal politics or provincial politics or an impending election in a neighbouring jurisdiction, I take a keen interest in the issues and policies at stake and the players in the race. These days however, I’m finding it a little hard to do.
We’re slightly over the half-way mark in what feels like the longest federal election campaign of all time. That’s partly because it is the longest Canadian election campaign in modern history. By the time the polls open on October 19, Canadians will have been treated to eleven weeks of promises, announcements, and candidates making awkward attempts at relating to everyday people and posing for cheesy photo opportunities. These are the folks who claim they will be the best choice in leading our country through the next several challenging years. I’m not so sure about that, but if this race were a competition in playground bullying and below-the-belt wisecracks, all of these folks would do just fine.
Social and conventional media continue to play a major role in shaping this campaign and in many (all right, most) ways I’ve been disappointed. Today’s political news headlines are becoming eerily similar in focus and quality on both sides of the 49th which is disconcerting. Maybe I’m struggling a bit because I haven’t heard anything concrete regarding issues that impact me and our ranch, yet I’ve been subjected to the intimate details about former candidates and how and when they urinate. To be fair, the “Peegate” scandal I’m referring to brought forward a useful point about the importance of parties vetting candidates before allowing them to represent their values. But, it was a little too much information. Let’s keep it classy, Canada.
I want nitty gritty policy details about agriculture, more about parties’ stances on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate strategies to deal with drought and water security, and party views on consumer pressures like GMO-labelling. I’m very worried about the economy and I don’t want finger-pointing, but rather am looking for specific information on parties are going to deal with different economic scenarios. I’m not interested in media sensationalizing two- and three-year old tweets made by campaign managers, which simply reminds us all that the Internet never forgets. I would, however, like some information on positions about the grain storage and freight crisis or supporting infrastructure for associated industries.
I guess I still have more questions than answers with respect to this election campaign. As a small business owner and a parent of young children, I’m focused on the future and I need politicians that are as well. If I’m unclear on certain issues that are important to me, I’d better do some research and make some decisions. I shouldn’t rely on media or anyone else to help me decide which way to vote, the responsibility lies with me as it does with all individual voters. The stakes are simply too high.
There is an old ranch saying that if you “hang onto the cow’s tail, she will pull you through.” I’m not sure who exactly will be the best choice to pull Canada through the next four years given the tumultuous economy we are heading towards, not to mention other global and environmental challenges that will impact all of us. Whether you’re spending too much time at the back end of a cow or simply trying to follow today’s election campaign, you’ll probably be subjected to a large amount of crap. But this is the hand we are dealt with and the very worst thing the public can do is nothing at all.
Get informed. Go and vote.