Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 

TAPPING INTO VOTER ANGST

Alas; citing America's ceaseless Presidential campaigning as the prime example, I've ranted before about the downside of fixed calendar election dates.

Witness as we are to the media barrage from the United States; one could have assumed that informed Canadians would not be tempted to follow in the same footsteps. Indeed though, we have once more embraced the American way and as Canada tilts ever more to the political right of centre; our politicians have struck another blow for their vision of democracy. Thus increasingly at every level of Government we too move to fixing election dates in time...as with America, mostly in the fall of the year.

Though unlike in the United States, here in the Great White North, elections held in the fall mean that campaigning in all of its manifestations must carry through our pitifully short summer season. And, everyone well knows that engaging Canadians, especially over politics, during their precious summertime is about as arduous as smiling during deep root-canal surgery.

So it is that the shadowy politicos, the spin-doctors, and the pollsters who make-up the ever growing un-elected backroom manipulators of our political world have evolved their theories, and from there strategies, to engage this vexatious debate. They are tapping into our alleged "Voter Anger." - Damn! Five months to Ontario's October election...and I didn't even know I was angry. But, annoy me with political platitudes over an entire summer and I am bound to get pissed-off.

Lucky Ontarians are we; 12-million strong (on third of Canada's population) and being called to the polls on October 6 to pass judgement on eight years of the Liberal "Dalton McGuinty" Government which - as some would have us believe - is just short of the devil incarnate. Also which of course is the same line from 8 years ago about the then Progressive-Conservative Government of Mike Harris: Apparently we're either gullible and/or forgetful.

So precious is our short and beloved summer that politicians could take lessons from real estate agents who learned a long time ago that selling anything in Ontario (other than lake shore acreage and beer) is damned near impossible between the Victoria Day Weekend and September's Labour Day break. Rejecting the obvious, the (new) Progressive-Conservatives of Ontario tabled this week their platform for change, dubbed the "Changebook" that they will take to the campaign to unseat the "Daltonytes" come the first Thursday in October. The challenge issued; the gauntlet dropped!

The real problem for Ontario politicians of every stripe is that the province is broke and that, were it not for its sheer size and economic power within the Canadian Confederation, it teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. Maybe that's why Mr. McGuinty's Government countered the P.C.'s salvo by relaxing Ontario's antiquated liquor laws just this week in the immediate aftermath of the Victoria Day long weekend and the unofficial start of summer in Ontario. After all there is nothing quite like a boozy distraction from the problems that ail you.

Beware! This is the kick start of a very long summer of political campaigning that's bound to distract many; and by the end likely make most all of us a lot anxious and a little angry.

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