Last Saturday night, I hosted a political party. No, I am not running for prime minister (although if the Queen’s job was up for grabs, I might consider it). This was my lazy way of passing the research buck to my friends for a measly beer and a few chips.
The idea was that everybody would arrive armed to the teeth about one political party’s platform. As usual, the beer was enticing, the political research, not so much. Only one friend came with information about a political party- the liberals. Now I know a lot more about the liberal platform than any other platform. Luckily, I have pretty informed and smart friends who listen to the news and know approximately what is going on. We all also know how to use the internet, which we did to supplement our lack of knowledge of the other parties.
My goal was to approach this coming election in an objective, scientific manner. One where I filled in the blanks of my handy chart, compared it to my list of what is important, and then whoever tallied the most points on my own “What’s important” meter would win.
I failed to realise that voting, like marriage or buying a house, is very subjective. Sure, you can tally the facts: Pros: Nice guy, funny, responsible, non smoker. Cons: smells bad, dumps food in the sink and leaves it to rot in the drain, drinks a bottle of whiskey a night. But even if you are adamantly anti-whiskey drinking, you might still love him despite this sad, excessive whiskey drinking fact and choose him even though he doesn’t fit all your criteria.
Well, the same goes for politics.
Case in point: my reaction to the debates last Thursday. I wanted to like the NDP a lot more than I did and the Liberals a lot less than I did. Damn. Stéphane Dion seemed like a thoughtful, intelligent person who stuck to the issues. Jack Layton however, came across as a smarmy real estate sales person, who was too busy attacking Harper like a rabid dog (not that I usually have anything against attacking Harper) instead of putting forth his platform. Elizabeth May held her own and Gilles Duceppe, with a huge amount of flare, provided the entertainment for the evening.
Plus, I really don’t like Elizabeth May’s hair or Jack Layton’s moustache. And he seems to be hovering creepily behind his candidates in all of the posters around town which makes me think of Big Brother. Harper looks like someone enchanted a playmobile character to come to life and become our own modern day Pinocchio, and Stéphane Dion, god love him, is like the town of Spuzzum, B.C.: you blink and you miss him, he is so white and unassuming. As for Gilles Duceppes, J is certain that with his piercing blue eyes he must control winter.
So. Who to vote for?
Well, I am looking at my chart (yes, I actually made one) and first off the bat, I see that the Conservatives are disqualified for not having their platform out. The party was last Saturday night, just over a week before the election. I find it condescending and insulting that they did not lay it all out for Canadians to look over. Geez, the advance voting had already started! To me this demonstrates unacceptable arrogance, so I disqualified them.
Okay, okay, I wouldn’t have voted for them anyway, but I was willing to give their ideas a chance on my handy dandy platform chart. You never know- maybe I am a conservative in a leftist closet, just waiting for the ann0uncement of a PLATFORM to jump out and yell “family values!”
Somehow I doubt it.
I also neglected to research the Bloc Quebecois as we are all anglophones and well, that pretty much says it all. Besides, they were the last on the chart and the beer had been flowing pretty freely by that time.
So it is between the liberals, the NDP and the Green party. Now I have to go do more research before Tuesday because I realise that I have no idea what a cap and trade system ( I just looked it up) is.
I also have some major holes in my issues chart that need to be filled out.
Okay- this post has taken me several days to complete, but I am pretty sure I know who I am voting for. And, no, I am not going to announce it on the blog.
But I will give out a few links that helped me make my decision.
1)Election resources for students and teachers
I find that the best way to learn something on a subject you know nothing about is to check out a children’s non fiction book on the subject. You get the basics laid out in a fun and interactive format, as well as pretty pictures and helpful bibliographies. Well, the same goes for internet sites. I am shamefully ignorant about our political process. So where do I turn to? An election site put up by a high school in Coquitlam. Although it is understandably BC heavy, it gives useful links to information in order to understand the basics of our system, the electoral process, history, current events. It is like a shopping mall for election info. Check it out- that is where I got the idea for my hand dandy chart.
Right to the source. I checked out my electoral riding here and was surprised to find out what riding I was in. It made a huge difference for my vote.
3) CBC Canada Votes
As I don’t own a tv, J and I watched the debates online via CBC. I also found out interesting tidbits in their leader profiles, candidate profiles and articles debating the issues.
Ahh, the site with the most buzz. I have mixed feelings about this. Mainly because I am an angry idealist (angry, because my idealism never wins) and I feel we should vote for the party that best matches our own opinions on the issues. Of course, politics is a chess game and our system is flawed, therefore drastic measures are needed. This site is an excellent source to see who is winning in the polls in your riding and whether or not there is any chance of a conservative victory. If there is, they ask you to vote strategically for the party with the most potential to win that riding and beat down the blues. You can then swap for your vote for someone who will vote for the party your heart would have chosen.
5) Websites of political parties:
Just to see what they are promising…
And that is it. If you have any more sites that have been helpful in making your decision, or comments, or furious rants, please don’t hesitate to voice them. It is a free country after all.