The media (pardon the pejorative) has been going into “Wah! No-one wants an election! It’s expensive! Wah!” mode lately. Sometimes I (unfortunately) listen to 680 News in Toronto, or read the Toronto Sun (mostly to see if they can continue their record streak of taking truly horrific photographs of truly undesirable women in bikinis). This is their dominant theme right now. Which, I mean, I understand. They’re both right-leaning hack-or-faux-journalism outlets, and if an election takes the focus away from talking (ad nauseam, for years on end) about how the Toronto Maple Leafs/Toronto Raptors/Toronto Football Club suck at their respective sports, or what reality television show cast member has been ousted (for being a giant douche-bag) or which reality show cast member has “won” (by being a giant douche-bag), or which hare-brained scheme out local gas-bag politician, Giorgio Mammoliti, wants to use to make some quick cash for the city… well, anything else is bad for business.
Okay, so the above paragraph is just a little P. J. O’Rourke impression. Pretty unbearable, right? But, seriously folks:
I want an election. I really do. I get to voice my opinion on the state of the country, have my voice heard, and cast my ballot. This doesn’t happen often. In fact in this country I very rarely get to be involved in the political apparatus. In an election, I can. And I will.
Canada has one of the most fair and one of the cheapest elections in the world. Did you know that? It costs roughly $8.50 per person per Federal election. That’s less than the price of a (cheap) movie ticket. That’s the price you pay for our kind of democracy. And the media would have you believe that’s too high a price to pay.
It’s really, really not.
This year I’m going to be reading the positions papers of all the parties. I’m leaning toward voting NDP. As far as I can tell the Conservatives (not the Progressive Conservatives of years past, but a new name on the Reform party, the most wretched of far right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-union, pro-gun, Leave It To Beaver trips back to the Fifties (ten points if you get the reference)) are in the pocket of business, of at least consider “the economy” as a whole more important than individuals as people who need to be able to afford to live. The Liberals are something, but no-one is quite sure what that thing is; they had a pretty good run under Jean Cretien, who was a decent leader, but they seem rudderless at the moment. The Bloq doesn’t have an candidates in my riding, so I can’t vote for them (though if there were an Ontario party looking to excise my province from the rest of the country, or at least expel Alberta from the Confederation, I’d vote for that). The NDP though, despite it’s union roots, seems focused on the plight of the everyman, which is a good thing. Plus they’re the only party to have a decent tech platform. And they’re not beholden to the titans of industry. And Jack Layton seems like pretty upstanding and principled guy.
That said, I’m going to figure out who I’m voting for, and then vote. I’ll add my voice to the pack. I’ll be happy to do it. An election every 2 years is a small price to pay for the democracy we all seem to take for granted. Imagine the people of Egypt looking down on you when you complain about the cost. At least you didn’t have to have a revolution.