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2011 Election

The Canada of Election Promises

I love Election time for all of the promises that are flowing freer than the word ‘coalition’ from Stephen Harper’s lips!

To recap:

  • Harper wants his Conservative majority to turn the Halifax Harbour into a major international transport hub for increased trade with Europe and the Middle East
  • Ignatieff announced an Early Childcare Learning and Care Fund to be pushed through by his Liberal majority
  • Layton wants Canada’s first NDP majority government to cut the subsidy to fossil fuel companies in favour of subsidies for alternative energies
  • Duceppe wants Quebecers to do whatever Quebecers may want to do, and the right to decide what it is that Quebecers want on the fly
  • May announced how, armed with her one seat on Vancouver Island, she will single-handedly push through reform to post-secondary education to make it more affordable

I listen to all of their wishes, the ideas that get them antsy in the pantsy, their sincerest hopes and desires for the Canada they want, and I get excited about the possibility of a Canada that our leaders openly seem to think is only possible in the realm of electoral promises. Why can’t we have THAT Canada: a Canada of Harper’s bouyant Halifax Harbour, and Layton’s alternative energies, and Ignatieff’s Early Childcare Learning and Care Fund, and May’s hope of more affordable post-secondary education, and Duceppe’s Quebec keeping Canada sexy since 1967. On the surface, none of these are inherently partisan issues, but they become so once the monikers of the day act as qualifiers on their value.

It’s not a plan to revitalize the Halifax Harbour – it’s the Conservative plan to revitalize the Halifax Harbour. Etc, etc.

Nor are some of these ideas mutually exclusive. I know each party is trying to sell me on their version of Canada, and that Election promises are like postcards from New Orleans pre-Katrina, but their individually weak visions of Canada add up to an impressive panorama of what Canada could look like. And it has to be easier to accomplish than some would have us believe.

Maybe this is actually my vote for a coalition. Or for cheesy patriotism.

Cheesy Patriotism

About awreeves

Editor-in-chief at Alternatives Journal. Author of 'Overrun: Dispatches from the Asian carp Crisis'.


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