Easy to understand apathy
Wednesday, Jul 02, 2014 06:00 am
Is it any wonder voter turnout continues to decline in this democracy we call Canada? We ask that poignant question one day after Canada’s 147th birthday.
Voter turnout declined to its second-lowest rate in the 2011 federal election. Only 53.8 per cent of eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot during that election – only slightly higher than the 53.6 per cent of voters who showed up at the polls in 2008.
There are theories about why voter turnout is on the decline. Perhaps people are just too busy to make that trip to the polling station. Maybe Canadians are content with the way they’re being governed and therefore don’t feel the need to exercise their vote. The salient reason for low voter turnout is simple: the electorate is completely disillusioned. Let’s ponder the current state of affairs. Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair – a.k.a. Canada’s three political stooges.
Let’s begin with Harper, who is making it nearly impossible for even the staunchest Tory to vote Conservative. There has not been a prime minister who has been more top-down and autocratic than Harper, and that’s quite an accomplishment considering he’s competing with Jean Chretien, Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau for that prize. Harper, in essence, has a gag order on all of his caucus, and every department in the federal government.
That’s only the persona of Harper. His policies, including his stance on the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, are ill conceived and knee-jerk. In an obvious cater to the Ontario and Quebec voters, Harper is thumbing his nose at Alberta and its dire need for workers. His faithful disciple, Employment Minister Jason Kenney, regurgitates Harper’s dictum and says companies like Tim Hortons should simply pay higher wages to attract Canadian workers. It’s clear Kenney nor Harper has ever managed a profit-driven company.
Then there’s Trudeau. Aside from the fact you can store his sincerity in a pill bottle, Trudeau has mastered the art of telling people what they want to hear. On a recent visit to Fort McMurray, Trudeau said the embattled TFW is “one of the most anti-Alberta federal policies we’ve seen in decades.” He’s right, not withstanding his father’s National Energy Program. It’s difficult to take Trudeau seriously, given his propensity for inane commentary. He’s on the record saying communist China and its dismal environmental and human rights record is the country he admires most.
At last, Thomas Mulcair. The man who wants to be Canada’s next prime minister has no problem going to Washington and slamming Alberta’s oilsands for its environmental impact. Mulcair, incidentally, is mum on the environmental impact of Quebec’s hydro operation.
Many Canadians are unable to reconcile the conflicting views of our leaders. Perhaps that’s inevitable in a country as diverse as ours. It’s at the root of the regular emergence of regional parties and even separatism – neither of which has proven a realistic solution to our grievances.
The crack in Canadian politics has become a huge chasm. While it’s difficult to witness the declining trend in voter turnout, it’s easy to understand why.