Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yearning for big ideas, passionate campaigns, and glory

I just read a blog by James Bowie that expresses my sentiments fairly well.  I know the Conservatives wanted to make some significant changes to government, changes that would impact what services the federal government would deliver, areas of responsibility between all three levels of government, and, of course, the size of government. These changes, should they have been put into effect by a majority Conservative government, would have consequences only partly imagineable to us, not knowing the full range of devices a majority reformist government would employ.

Needless to say, the philosophy of the current Conservatives, with a few exceptions, is largely unappealing to the majority of Canadians. Without a majoirity government, we are now facing change by increment, governance by regulation, legislation by threats and intimidation, instead of collaboration - all fueled by what Lawrence Martin, in his book "Harperland", suggests as Stephen Harper's hatred of the Liberal party.

I can certainly agree with portions of the Conservative ideology, things like smaller government, lower taxes, etc. However, comparing their record over the past 4 years, and the record of the Mulroney PCs, with the record of the Chretien/Martin government, it's puzzles me that they are still able to be identified with good fiscal management.

But, this is getting off topic. I really wanted to discuss the title - "Yearning for big ideas, passionate campaigns, and glory". Having run as a candidate in the last federal election, I can attest to being blasted by passionate partisanship. However, this was not the passionate campaign that I expected, nor want to see again. Instead, our passion should be directed towards big ideas of how our country will look in the coming years, what kind of society will meet the needs of our children, and how we want to be viewed by the rest of the world. These kinds of big ideas need to be debated in an election campaign, instead of through sound bites and photo ops.

The Liberals have recently announced a family health care plan that really defines their philosophy and sets them apart from the Conservatives. This is a big idea. Compare this to the policy announcements of the Conservatives about bigger prisons, bigger military, stricter sentencing. In which direction does Canada want to go. That would be an interesting debate.

The glory of a passionate campaign devoted to these types of big ideas would be wonderful. But I fear that the Republican-style campaigns of attack and intimidation are not yet over.

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