What Canadian politics looks like to me

Canadians are going to the polls, again, on May 2nd. There is almost nothing to distinguish this time from any of the previous five, but there is one significant difference: This time my son is old enough to vote (and he intends to do so). I’ve told him that he should find out what party … Continue reading “What Canadian politics looks like to me”

Canadians are going to the polls, again, on May 2nd. There is almost nothing to distinguish this time from any of the previous five, but there is one significant difference: This time my son is old enough to vote (and he intends to do so). I’ve told him that he should find out what party offers the best value to him, from his point of view. If I had to guess what that would be, I’d say tax breaks for low income earners and education assistance first, then environment and health care. Luckily, I know he doesn’t read my blog, so I’m not worried about colouring his viewpoint. 🙂

In any case, I find myself once again trying to figure out how to vote. When I look at the various political parties I see effectively zero difference from where they were a couple of years ago, so I expect the same outcome as last time: a Conservative minority. After all, expecting anything else would be crazy.

Here’s what I see (and I completely respect that these views are not shared by everyone):

  • Conservatives — boorish, obnoxious, bullies who favor short term economic benefits
  • Liberals — party policy could be defined as “don’t piss anyone off”; unable to find a compelling leader
  • NDP — want to change things; have no idea how to do that without tanking the country
  • Greens — heart in the right place; would need a majority to be interesting, which won’t happen until after the environment becomes unfixable
  • … and the fringe parties that simply don’t matter.

As most of you know, I usually vote Green, but I have discovered something in their current, stated platform that I cannot abide [emphasis mine]:

We will promote complimentary health care – through support of chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, and other non-western practices.

Everyone is free to make up there own minds about complimentary health care issues, but I will not vote for a party that promotes homeopathic medicine. Seldom am I given such a clear means to reduce the complexity of a decision space.

So, in the absence of that, I guess I’m leaning towards the NDP this year. Jack seems to have carried himself well in the debates. There is some alignment with my philosophical views. As I said last election:

The NDP are also close, if they could just figure out that sometimes “Environment first” is going to have to trump “People first”, so that our kids get to have a world worth living in too.

I guess we’ll see. I am very interested in your thoughts about the election. Feel free to comment.

3 thoughts on “What Canadian politics looks like to me”

  1. Great summary.

    Wow, that’s crazy that Greens support homeopathy. I completely agree. I cannot support a party that promotes such outright quackery. Our country doesn’t to lend credibility to those who espouse the imaginary healing powers of water and sugar pills. That being said, the Ontario government recently passed legislation to license homeopaths. I wrote a letter to my MPP to complain that they were licensing chalatans and was told that it was to support “healthcare choice”. Very disappointed by the lack of reason in our legislatures.

  2. I’ve been a Green Party member for the past decade, and I’ve actively participated in the policy/platform process. I share your distaste for homeopathy, but I’m still voting for the Green Party.

    Here’s why. In three acts.

    1. The key line (from my perspective) is from the policy document:

    Provide funds to expand provincial health insurance to cover proven alternative therapies that are less expensive and invasive such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture.

    The word I put emphasis on is: proven. The folks who wrote the policy know that there’s quackery amongst the reasonable alternative therapies and are trying to leave it out without offending the homeopathy/reiki/chiropractic crowd.

    2. I like the emphasis of the Green Party. Issues that I consider important are well covered: climate change, sustainable industry/economy, fair trade, and health promotion.

    3. I like the philosophy of the Green Party. In my mind it boils down to “if you pee in the pool, you’re going to have to pay for it.” I can get behind that.

    The Green Party has plenty of policies that I disagree with: marijuana legalization, limiting GMO research, and the occasional references to homeopathy. I dislike those positions, but I’m willing to let them slide because I think the policy is mostly right and the philosophy is bang on.

    And, of course, if you don’t like the policy, you should change it. You’re welcome to join the party, attend the next policy convention (summer 2012, IIRC), and move to strike homeopathy from the platform. I will vocally support your motion.

  3. Thanks for the reply, Evan.

    I recognize the realities of politics and I understand the desire to avoid “offending the homeopathy/reiki/chiropractic crowd”, but for me the issue is that the Greens ought to be a party that leads from (now clearly valid) scientific strengths, not hoodoo. I can’t shake the feeling that mentioning homeopathy in this context simply paints them as yet another fringe party trying to get votes however they can.

    As to changing the policy, I am acting to change the policy. This blog posting and the comments it has received are evidence of that.

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