More time to explore candidates, please
Time seems to fly, having fun or not, and here we are again edging toward another federal election, in 2019. Usually we wait, not breathlessly, for the parties and candidates to announce their entries and to outline their campaign platforms, but these announcements usually come frustratingly close to the actual voting date.
In most cases, we hardly have time to really consider and weigh the proposals and promises.
It’s objectionable that we voters have virtually no input into these platforms and promises. We’re presented with the list by each party and given the grand democratic option of voting “yes or no”, period. This I’d call toothpaste democracy, or democracy akin to selecting a toothpaste from a shelf-full of colours and sizes. Democracy is supposed to be much more.
No doubt the major parties like this – they’ve created this system bit by bit. It gives them control – and it insulates them from uncomfortable decisions which might impact their financial backers and ideological saints. Well, so what!
We have the option of joining a party and going to their conventions and policy meetings – most of which have already occurred by the time the elections are in public view. But suppose we don’t want to join a party (and receive all the emails and phone calls this engenders), then what? Sit and wait until we’re told the choices, and then mark our X -- buy our toothpaste. Isn’t there a better way, without re-visioning the whole procedure and electoral system?
Here’s a modest proposal: have the candidates make themselves known earlier, a year or so before the actual campaign. This would not be official, not in accordance with election rules. Just announce, “I, Josephina Blow, am considering running for the Pirate Party in 2019. My priorities are the threats to our future from the Chalk River radioactive dump project and . . . .” Something like that. It won’t trigger the Election Act.
But it will give us, the folks who pay for this whole charade, a heads-up and a few months to actually think about our coming options. Same with the parties. The big three have their plans and tactics ready to roll, but what about the 30 or so smaller parties which often just appear on our ballots as a surprise to voters. Let’s hear from the Christian Heritage Party, the Marijuana Party, Marxist Leninists, Soul-Searchers and all the rest. Give us some information at a time when it will do some good, please!
Specifically, we have a sitting Liberal, who we assume will run again. Mr Woodman, the putative Conservative candidate, has just announced he’s not running again, and the NDP, which held this seat before the last vote, is mum.
Both these parties have unknown new leaders – why are they intent on remaining unknown? Maybe they’ve never heard of the Pontiac. Hull-Aylmer is such a safe riding, will there be charismatic candidates to push forward debates?
Let’s hear from anyone interested in running for the Tories or the NDP. It doesn’t have to be official – that’s an excuse for the parties’ traditionally manipulative silence.
There is a crying – screaming – need for real debate, and a real accountability from those seeking re-election.
We deserve to have the issues clearly put and slowly defined, thanks to public debate. We deserve the opportunity within our busy lives (we’re earning money to pay the salaries of these characters) of getting to know the likely candidates, especially those who aren’t well known. They deserve the time to make their names and issues clear.
Why should only the parties and the back-roomers set the rules and the issues?