Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Warning : Politics ahead

Someone I know posted a video (or two) today on Facebook, urging people to vote for the NDP (or NPD in french) to put a stop to the current two-party monopole going on in Canadian federal politics. He even goes as far as to compare us to the United States, where the two-party monopole is even more enforced. Now first of all.. I'm all for NDP, for very different reasons. I do agree that the two current "old" parties are becoming a farce, mostly due to "friendships" extending longer than ideas.

 One part of me would be glad to get rid of Alberta and Saskatchewan, but I choose to enlighten them, because the stakes are too high for regional pride or borders. I do think we stand out in Canada, not only culturally or linguistically, but our priorities are different. We do not care for the conservative party, who claims on their platform to be aligned with the US on environmental policies, but also claim in bold red letters that: "The Ignatieff-Led coalition with the NDP and Bloc Québécois opposed this measure to support clean energy, when they opposed Stephen Harper's Budget last month, and chose instead to force an unnecessary and opportunistic election." You just have to love a man/political party that not only claims that the a motion of non-confidence held against him was the result of a non-existent coalition (we really just don't trust the guy, each and all separately), but also extrapolates that the opposing parties are responsible for the lack of support for clean energy, because they rejected his budget.. Golden. Oh, and I'm sure you're all wondering what this "measure" was? "We will also provide additional support for research and development in clean energy and energy efficiency." However, further down the line, they go forth and set the rules to get financial help from the Conservatives if you are pursuing clean energy: "We will support viable clean energy projects that will assist regions and provinces in the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable fuel sources." This is where it gets good. "The criteria for our support of a project will be whether it: 1) Has national or regional significance 2) has economic and financial merit; and 3) will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions." Note the order. I also love how they plan to reintroduce native species, and introduce regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the production of electricity (no less!). Anyways, I'm transgressing.

As for the liberal party's view of renewable resources.. well their motto would go something like this: protect to better exploit. This is what Michael Ignatieff wants Canadians to fall for: "Canada is home to abundant natural resources demanded by global markets: oil and natural gas reserves, potash, iron, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead and uranium. We are one of the world’s top five exporters of food, and have significant fisheries, and forestry resources, which have been the backbone of the Canadian economy for many decades. As the custodians of one of the world’s largest supplies of freshwater, we should be well placed to continue developing and exporting the next generations of technologies and expertise for the efficient use and conservation of water."

Please take note, he said oil first. Uranium last, because y'know.. with all that's happening in Japan right now, it wouldn't be very well seen.. anyways, they don't want you to THINK, they want you to VOTE, right? That's why there's a "Commit to vote" button every other paragraph, punctuating their platform. Again, I transgress. While they plague their speech with words like "cleaner" and "renewable energy", they still say, and I quote: "Oil sands development must become more sustainable as this major resource continues to contribute to Canada’s prosperity." I sure hope they find a way to make fossil fuels sustainable.. *smirks* Good luck with that!

I kinda dig the liberals, at least they make me laugh! Check this out: "A Liberal government will establish a cap-and-trade system – a mechanism that sets a ceiling on the total amount of permissible greenhouse gas emissions by large industrial facilities, and then auctions off emission permits to companies who can trade them amongst themselves to remain compliant under the law." The title of this article is: "Climate change action at home and abroad", but it's really an auction, you see.. cleaver! Also, unlike Harper, they plan on NOT waiting on Washington to make a move, and go ahead with some one on one action with congressmen to convince them to tax carbon and such other issues. Because that has worked so well in the past. In their own wise prose: "Rather than waiting for the U.S. Congress to act, as the Harper government has done, a Liberal government will engage American counterparts in the Administration and Congress proactively on key issues including: carbon pricing, research and development for standards and regulation, clean energy technologies, cooperation on electricity transmission grid development, and transportation. While the Harper government has outsourced Canadian policy to American legislators, a Liberal government will act in the Canadian interest." Clearly, the Liberals have it all figured out! We will not wait for the US congress and act in the Canadian interest, by engaging Americans proactively on key issues. I'm drowning in demagogic laughter here.

I'd also like to note that the NDP is the only party so far which hasn't overdone the accusing and pointing-the-finger game. They address issues and raise concerns, proposing solutions to problems instead of making up fake coalitions, empty promises and playing the blame game. Sure, they might not be able to hold ALL their promises in the end, sure seems like a whole lot of raising and not a whole lot of cutting, but we know where their position is, and what they are going to do if given the resources.

As for the Bloc.. well that's really a nice smokescreen. Duceppe is a great character, he really is, but who does he think he's fooling when he claims a vote for the NDP is dividing the vote and helping Harper win? His own party might as well have "Bloc Québécois, dividing the vote since 1991" on its electoral cards. Not only does he blame Layton for providing an alternative, and Harper for many well known reasons, Gilles Duceppe also rejects Ignatieff, clearly stating on his platform, black on white, that the Liberals cannot be trusted. I find it offensive to read this. If this is the kind of arguments the Bloc puts forth to "defend Quebec ideals", I'm not signing up. In fact, I don't get the feeling that the Bloc is really getting our ideas across and defending our values in a cooperative manner at all. The ultimate goal is openly separation. Duceppe claims in his opening letter that the Bloc "will not let Quebec suffer politics that are good for Canada, but not for the Quebec nation". Let's reverse the roles, if those politics are good for Quebec, but not for Canada? Why should the rest of Canada let us impose our free will over that of the country? This double standard bothers me. Are they defending our ideals or our pride? I don't know Gilles. I just don't care to play that social identity card anymore. In my sense, we distinguish ourselves from the rest of Canada, and we should positively influence our neighbors instead of rejecting them altogether.

This stuff has been on my mind for days. I wonder what the outcome will be, I don't really trust polls, but I do hope that Quebecers will help support Jack Layton and his team. I hope Canadians all over the country vote orange this year, and perhaps stir change and progress at the House of Communes. We're sick of the lies, of the finger-pointing, of the hopeless one-sided debates. I, for one, would not mind having a prime minister that can argue his position without insulting or accusing a fellow politician.

Here's a video of Jack Layton at Tout le monde en parles, in french only, sorry. I especially like what he says last: I say what I want to say, I don't spend my time reacting to what others are saying all the time. Amen to that!

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