“Sometimes, when you see a group of Canadians coming out on Sunday morning to plant trees that they might not even live to see fully grown, you understand and feel the deep and passionate faith that the people of this country have in their own country. They must also have a politics and politicians worthy of that faith and love of their country, which I saw this morning on a country road in Canada.” —
Ignatieff lamenting that the quality of Canada’s politicians often don’t measure up to the love Canadians feel for their country.
Ignatieff seems to have consulted with Trudeau’s ghost on his last day to campaign. In the quote above, he is borrowing heavily from the often flowery way in which Pierre worked natural imagery into the national character of Canadians. Although to be fair, Trudeau could paddle a two-person canoe on his own through the rapids and into the backcountry and emerge unscathed days later, so he could make statements such as this.
I simply don’t know if Ignatieff has done enough to convince Canadians that he deserves to lead this country, because I believe he does. I think if given the chance, and if given a Liberal Party not in shambles after the Sponsorship Scandal in Quebec in 2005, he might have had an easier go of it.
But politics being what they are, and life not being fair and all that, he has given it his best. Perhaps he is better at governing than he is at campaigning. But without one, the other has no value. He is principled and worldly, and best represents the ‘Citizen of the World’ Canadian that Trudeau so embodied.
And he deserves your vote.
In other things I do not know: whether Jack Layton has fielded a team of candidates actually ready and skilled enough to lead this country. The NDP’s largest challenge moving forward is to maintain this surge of popularity – even relevance – and attract candidates with more substantial political experience. What worked at a local school board meeting will not cut it in Ottawa, and that goes double for the Green Party. The NDP surge caught everyone off guard – and I will admit, I even forecast its death prematurely. For that, I apologize. Jack has made the most of a campaign that he could have hobbled through at half speed and no one would have blamed him, coming off hip surgery and a battle with cancer.
But he rose above it, and put on the best showing of his political career, often wielding that support cane as a stage prop. He has been articulate, honest, and surprisingly trustworthy. He has kept his calm in face of a pathetic smear campaign sent his way in the final days of the campaign courtesy of SunTV. I think his message of cooperation has struck a chord with Canadians, yet I would have liked to see him take that message to its next level and push for electoral reform.
And he deserves your vote.
Sadly, only a few thousand lucky residents of Saanich-Gulf Islands will be fortunate enough to cast a ballot for Elizabeth May, and it may almost read as a minor referendum on the political fortunes of the Green Party in Canada. May rolled with the punches like the best of them after disgustingly being excluded from the Leader’s Debate; she formed her own Rally for Democracy and took her message directly to the Canadian people. She admirably toured the country by train to support her Green candidates everywhere, while trying to spend as much time at home where she stood the best chance of winning. In the end, if she loses to Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn, she may have martyred herself for the sake of her party, and possibly ensured that no Green’s are elected.
But May has been passionate, dedicated to her cause and her supporters, and has continually built the party base up from the ground. She has become a household name, and has put together an admittedly hodge-podge platform that is pragmatic in the extreme, creating policies from across the spectrum where she believes the country would benefit most. She is an American by birth, but a Canadian by choice, and a fine example of what people can do when they care deeply about the environment.
And she deserves your vote.
Yet I have not said a word about Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party because, simply put, their autocratic disregard for democracy and dissenting opinions, cooperation, working with others, and respect for women and maternal health has earned them no respect from me. They have shown themselves time and again willing to lie and manipulate to stay in power and have their way, without any notion of right and wrong. The Idea of Canada cannot flourish under this Conservative government.
He does not deserve your vote.
There – a few words for Stephen Harper. I didn’t intend for this to become an un-endorsement endorsement, and in a way it has all the same. But the endorsement is more for political engagement than it is for a specific party leader or party. And I think that is worth more than a few words in support of any one Leader.