This statement is born out of some personal reflection. It’s both my assessment of the current state of Canadian politics, and my prescription for how we might move forward.
The times are changed, from the Tea Party in the United States, to the global Occupy movement, people are becoming disaffected. As voter turnout continues to decline, and micro-targetting makes it possible to win elections with less and less support, at what point does a government become illegitimate? Consider an election with 50% turnout (Ontario’s recent election was 49.2%): a party winning 40% support, and likely a strong majority government, would be elected by only 20% of eligible voters.
Something is wrong with politics today, and whether Canadians don’t know, or simply don’t care, it’s a problem infecting our society. A great deal of blame lies with our politicians, who effectively use negativity and misinformation to win our votes, but more still lies with us. Negative ads are universally despised but proven effective. Deliberate misinformation campaigns, while ‘reprehensible’, are shrugged off without consequence. Our indifference perpetuates the behaviour we claim to reject. When we, as citizens, sit idly by instead of standing up for what’s right, when we reward pessimism, and dishonesty, and an unwillingness to co-operate, we promote a system destined to fail.
We need to reward ideas that unite rather than divide, ideas that strengthen our economy, and ideas that give help to those who need it. We need something bold to shake us out of apathy. I believe it’s time for a new generation of politician. It’s time for a politician who treats Canadians with dignity and respect. It’s time to ask the tough questions, have the tough conversations, and provide real solutions to 21st century problems.
I’m not sure what this place will become, and I’m not suggesting that I have all the answers, but I am ready to have a conversation…