Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Social Trends: Partisan Politics and the People

Question: What makes you follow a certain party or group of people (Politically or Socially)?

Example: We are a member of our family because the family unit is one of the most fundamental building blocks to society, we are born into a family and thus live among our family as a member, reaping and sowing during the good times and hard times. We usually have no choice with regards to following our family because they are the most commonly recognized example of a group in our life.

The question I pose however is what makes certain people gravitate towards certain types of political party's?

The main answers I can accumulate at the top of my head are:

1. You were brought up in a family that followed a specific party (If so, what made your family follow it?)

2. You base your political decision via social aspects/values that a party has in relation to you (Can also be used in cohesion with option 1).

3. You like the people running in the party and truly believe they are legit, which wins your vote.

4. You do not like the rest, so you pick someone who seems different in hopes that they do something better ( Seems like the majority of votes now a days are based on this one)

The reality seems that any of these listed reasons could apply, or a few combined, or all of them combined in some circumstances.

Tell me why you align yourself to a specific party in the political system. If you want to take it further, tell me why you align yourself with any kind of party in general; be it political, social or financial.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Government Transparency and You

It has been a while since my last post, this is mainly due to an increase in work and my recovery over the shock from the Federal Elections...

Now that government is going back to work, we can see our elected officials get busy as they well do their job. With this new change in government strength and the results of the "winds of change" we still have older issues that continue to knock on our door. One very important issue that has not gone away or changed much is the amount of transparency our government is responsible for having with us.

The Harper office has once again been requested to display dollar amounts and other sensitive documentation with regards to decisions and policy that has been made in the past. The link above is an article released during the most recent federal election.

What you ask for and what you get seldom mirror each other and this case was nothing different. Many released documents that Harper's party allowed were heavily blacked out and covered up.

Let me explain how one must request these documents to further stress my point. The opposition asks the government to release documentation and show the Canadian people what their tax dollars have been going to. If the government denies this request, a party must partake in the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT to acquire these documents. This not only takes time, but costs money in processing and legal fees.

How this affects you: As a result of a lengthier process to acquire information that I believe the people should know, political parties have to spend more in processing and legal fees. This cost comes from their budgets which surprise...comes from your taxes.

The Harper government is not the only one to break this pact with the Canadian people, Chretien's government hid a lot of information about it's involvement in Iraq and probably many other situations that we have yet to find out about.

My question however is: What is your opinion on government transparency?

Should the government have to tell us everything about how it spends our tax money and directs our country? Is there a line when it comes to freedom of information?

In the post 9/11 era the government has made it much easier to acquire information from you and what you do, the freedom of information act was put in place to increase transparency, however loopholes still exist that contradict it.

Tell me what you think.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Where are we? In which direction are we heading?

Stephen Harper has won a majority as his party gains the most seats in the 2011 election. Our country has been shaken by the "winds of change" as the NDP now become the official opposition. A change that has come at the expense of both the Liberal party as opposition and the existence of the Bloc Quebecois.

What does this mean for Canada? Our country now has a government that has the ability to push all of it's policies without much trouble from other parties who may not agree with them. With the exception of Conservative seats that may sway to the left on certain subjects that is.

For the first time in the history of Canadian politics, the NDP have become the official opposition, a change that now bumps them from 4th place to 2nd and has opened the possibility that Canada as a whole may become a 2 party political system.

Where are we going?

It is impossible to predict where our country will go with a Conservative majority, but one can make speculations that many contested topics from before may be given the boost they required to become a reality. Our country will for sure become more compliant with the United States and as a result, our image of a peace keeping country may disappear as Canada becomes allied in more military actions on the international scene.

Trickle down policies will most likely continue, which will benefit the rich and mega corporations. However, now that the NDP have opposition, this may not be entirely true as the house will be greatly polarized. No longer will moderation exist, when we have two parties with very different philosophies, holding the majority of the seats in our government. Not to mention that many of these NDP winners did not even expect to have a chance at victory, greenhorns who will now need to take some quick lessons in order to keep up with many hardened parliament veterans under the Conservative party.

Sadly, voter turnout is expected to be even worse than it was in the last election. With so much optimism put forth with our young students, numbers fell to about 50% from 58% from 2008. Who did we mostly lose? Many Liberal voters have become disenfranchised due to leader issues and many have jump ship to the NDP or Conservatives.

In sum, I must openly say in my most free opinion that this election was not one of hope or good government, but one of fear and uncertainty. Mr. Harper was able to scare many voters into voting different through the main fear that change in party was change for the worse. Well, change has occurred and many new trends will arise from this election, but aside from Jack Layton's attempt to speak about change via hope, every other party did nothing but bash each other expecting to win with fear and this is where we must change.

I hope you all went out to vote and I urge you to continue asking questions, voicing your opinions, keeping little trust in those with the majority of power and looking forward to not only help yourself, but continue to help our country stay on the right path and be a positive and productive example for the international community.