Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Last nights debate was a real stick in the Munk!

Last nights Munk debates featured a less than thought provoking discussion on Canada's place in the world. 

The debate became so bad, that the candidates basically yelled at each other over who panders more to the requests of the United States. 

Granted that the U.S. plays a big role on the international scene, while being located right next to them geographically doesn't help the argument against such chatter, our party leaders really dropped the ball when it came to offering ways of improving Canada's image. 

In order to properly give light to the very points that support the atrocity that was labelled a debate, I am going to list each leader and their pros and cons from last night.

Stephen Harper: 
Being the Prime Minister, we can look at Harper first. While last night gave him the chance to make amends and explain his actions or lack of, the Prime Minister played typical politics and did his best to say well nothing. 

Most of the Prime Ministers words were the repetition of the same old grey facts that have been used this entire election. Creating the appearance that all is well with Canada and that the current government offers stability. 

What Harper failed to a achieve was back any of his statements with facts. An unfortunate trend that has been common throughout this election and over the past 10 years of his leadership.

His overall appearance came off as the sane one, which says a lot in a debate that really offered no new ideas towards solutions.

Justin Trudeau:

The Liberal leader made a point of coming out of the gates strong and making reference to his father, who did a lot for Canada in terms of international affairs and sovereignty. 

I really enjoyed the respect he showed his father on the anniversary of his passing. What I didn't enjoy, was how he continuously focused attacks on Thomas Mulcair and made Stephen Harper look like a sane and stable choice! Justin at least fell into Harpers trap a minimum of 5 times last night and you know what, Harper smirked and loved every bit of it. So much so that he let him talk as long as possible without batting an eye, then calmly walked in and repeated the same Conservative koolaid facts that he has all election. What's scarier is that at many points in the debate, it actually worked. 

The audience was either paid to be there and clap for every Conservative point or were party volunteers, which was another beef I had withy this debate as it took away from the seriousness of it all. 

Justin made mention to valid points, but his attacking did nothing but further split the left vote, which helps Harper and hurts all of us!

Thomas Mulcair: 

While Mulcair had the most to lose last night, he did well in terms of rationally explaining what the NDP has done and how that will translate if they gain power. His explanations were in point, but I find he spent too much time correcting Trudeau, instead of directly beating the crap out of Harper, which further split the left vote!

Overall, I feel the Munk debates did nothing but benefit Harpers chance at a minority government survival, when in reality his party deserves to be decimated for the inaction and poor guidance they have excercized, which has inevitably hurt Canada's image on the international scene.

The leaders on the left did nothing to further build on this and instead attacked each other. Meanwhile, Elizabeth May excercized excellent fact checking and tact, but only through tweets since her presence was not permitted at the actual debate, which does a disservice to all Cansdians.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Adult Assembly Required: To Vote the Candidate or the Party!?

It's currently September 15 and we are just over a month from "E Day", a day that will determine the fate of our current Prime Minister and could/will essentially either correct or drastically change the direction of our country depending on which paradigm of thought you prescribe to.

While this election has been the longest and while many different issues have come to the surface either by design or as a result of world events, we are now getting a better picture as to where the different political parties stand and more importantly how their candidates are handling the election.

Like many other elections, one question should be on your mind and if it isn't you're not paying enough attention! Do I vote for the party I like or do I vote for the candidate that I like?

This should be easy though right? I mean, you like the party and obviously the candidate supports the party, so that makes sense? Yes, this may seem like a simplistic non-issue, but what happens when the party makes grandiose claims, but the candidate just stinks or has a political history that doesn't live up to the party?

Here in Hamilton for example, we have an ex-mayor running as a Liberal contender in the election against a seasoned NDP incumbent and a Conservative social butterfly. To make things more interesting, said ex-mayor used to be a radio star in Hamilton, making his name well known among many older residents. 

This candidate is definitely riding the Trudeau wave in an attempt to convince voters that real change is possible, but to those who have been following his own political career, they might question just how invested he is in change. Since, while in office, he was notoriously known as being a status quo, hard to work with controversial figure, who really didn't promote the city until after he was confirmed as on the radar of Justin Trudeau.  

His Conservative rival on the other hand is socially known throughout the riding and as such has garnered support based on her name from individuals who are either within her circle or close to it, however her party is under a lot of fire since it's leader, Stephen Harper, has done a lot of controversial things over his time in power. 

Either way, this does raise important questions not only about politics in general, but also the way in which our current system is organized. One true aspect that I have come to realize from working in elections in the past is that there are many times where the right candidate is not chosen for the job. Now, what we determine "right" is definitely based on perspective, but this may also answer why so many people have become both cynical and apathetic toward voting and elections in general.

If parties come out with strong platforms, yet recruit horrible candidates or candidates, which quite easily could put a room to sleep, while robbing their wallets. How do we expect to engage more youth and more important maintain the engagement of the electorate? Frankly, many politicians want you to not vote, since the incumbent will directly benefit 99% of the time when voting numbers are low or decreasing.

With a changing world, many of the institutions we have come to cement into our society are becoming increasingly vulnerable and require either updating or an entire evolution in order to further secure them. Elections and the electorate are not separate from this change or the requirements it brings with it.

One dominant change would easily be the rise of social media, which not only has changed our ways of communication, but also gives the electorate another avenue with which to view candidates and judge them. Politics puts you into a glass house, which is why shaming in elections grants results. Recent incidents regarding candidates from all three of the major parties further supports this as their online conversations, became the centre of public attention and essentially led to their resignations. Now, whether all of these resignations were justified is debatable, but in all of the examples, party leaders made sure to protect their brand image by enforcing it and removing candidates who could be viewed as troublesome.

What do you think? Do you weigh more on the side of the party's image and it's leader or the candidate in your riding? 

Remember to watch the upcoming debate Thursday evening!

Until Next Time!