Special contribution by I. Aagaard
Today I discussed the upcoming federal election with a friend of mine. We talked about the growing voter apathy and bounced around possible reasons for this most serious problem.
I am in the wine business, so taking a quick look at our current political parties and their leaders and compare them to common wine defects is just too much of a temptation to resist, so here goes:
Stephen Harper and the Conservatives remind me of Rotten Eggs (wine fault H2S). Their term is up and it’s time to discard the lot.
Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals. Well, they share common traits with the wine fault Mercaptan, i.e. they project a very unpleasant odour of cooked cabbage or burnt rubber. Unless they quickly find a way to remove the unpleasant compound by airing some truly new and exciting ideas and visions they, too, should be discarded.
Jack Layton and the NDP share traits with a wine that’s “Corked”, i.e. they have that same musty, mouldy smell. Jack just can’t seem to come up with anything new. Pity, because that deficiency might just end up keeping him bottled up!
So, it seems to me that we need a new party – the K.I.S.S. Party. The premise, as the name suggests, is to “Keep It Simple Stupid”. This party would be comprised of people who can communicate a platform and vision for the country (vision is very important) in simple, easy-to-understand terms. That way the average voter might actually understand the issues and the impact they have on us. Anyone who starts or runs for such a party would certainly get my vote and, I suspect, that of many other disillusioned Canadians.
Honesty, integrity and the ability to keep promises made are MUST HAVE qualities and of paramount importance for being a member of the K.I.S.S. Party. As such, lawyers and economists would not be welcome as members of this party. They only convolute matters and make everything seem much too complicated. I suspect this is a trick they use to build ‘job security’. After all, if we, the average voter, cannot understand what they are really saying, how can we challenge them! Also, it would be more desirable to have fewer lawyers and economists in office in favour of more ordinary people (women?). The current electoral system and bureaucratic set-up seem to strongly work against that happening any day soon.
So, taking the discussion a step further, it seems to me that ONLY IF or WHEN our politicians can bring the issues down to earth and communicate to us, the electorate, in simple, easy-to-understand language, might we actually manage to connect and become more interested in both elections and issues. As it stands now, I suspect a lot of people either don’t understand or they feel disconnected from it all. Too removed and frightfully dis-empowered!
A new electoral system, e.g. some variation of Proportional Representation, would make each vote more valuable and meaningful. We should have a system where each vote actually counts for something. Our current system First Past The Post, is flawed to the point of allowing a majority government on much less than 50% voter support. Wherein lies the democracy, I ask? Would it not be more democratic and fair if smaller parties, the Green Party being a case in point, were given equal opportunities of electing members to parliament and playing a role in forming coalition governments? Such governments have worked for years in many other democratic countries, especially around Europe. What are we afraid of here?
Such a scenario would also force the parties to work together in the interest of all Canadians. As it is now, I cannot help but feel there is too much partisanship at play, too much power in the PMO and too little true democracy.
For what they are worth, those are my thoughts on the political picture we are faced with. I know some readers will say that what I am proposing is totally unrealistic. I say to all of you: We can dream, can’t we? And work to make dreams come true!