To the Editor:
Until recently, I believed that all of our federal political parties were trustworthy and that any one of them would honour the Canadian values of peace, order and good government. I assumed all of them respected democracy and the institution of Parliament. I thought that they all felt a moral responsibility for the less fortunate, environmental protection and sound financial management.
However, I am very worried when I see institution and programs like CBC, the Canadian Wheat Board and the long-form census being dismantled and other groups being purposely underfunded so they are unable to perform. Canada is quickly being transformed into a nation that uses blind ideology in decision-making, has contempt for parliamentary procedure and embraces a vindictive penal system. Anger and fear are being stoked as divisive tactics for partisan purposes. There is little effort to find compromise or common ground on issues.
I realize that I must learn more about our government, as well as the history, visions and policies of the other parties. This is not easy, as it is often hard to tell between facts and fiction and spin. Think tanks, journalists, experts, lobbyists and analysts all present their sides of the issues. I have been looking at the pros and cons of each of the parties to examine their visions and platforms.
I have always supported NDP values regarding social issues, including the rights of minorities, women, the homeless and others. I am worried about the diminishing middle class and feel that this has to be addressed or Canada will become progressively more dysfunctional. But I am less comfortable with NDP positions on Quebec sovereignty and abolishing the Senate, rather than reforming it. And I do have worries about their economic policies, which seem more idealistic than realistic.
The Green Party’s platform in the last election was very impressive, covering social and economic issues, as well as strong environmental protection. Canada needs a strong voice for the science of climate change. These are all issues and values I support.
The old Progressive Conservative party was responsible, although, like many conservative/republican governments, it talked about good fiscal management but did not demonstrate it. I could probably accept parts of a red Tory platform, but I realize I don’t agree with any of the present Conservative policies and beliefs. In fact, I worry that there may not even be a Canada in a few years. In the spirit of new symbolism, it may have a new name, too, to go with its image!
The Liberal Party has a long record of supporting post-secondary education, child care programs and health care. Aboriginal affairs were a priority with Paul Martin and certainly global warming was a high priority of Stéphane Dion. Internationally, Canada was recognized as a strong middle power and made valuable contributions on files such as land mines, cluster bombs and the creation of the international criminal court. The Liberal government was also recognized internationally for the financial policies established during its term in office.
As is examined the policies of those parties, I realized that the Liberal Party is the only party with a strong social conscience, as well as proven fiscal management and a commitment to deal with global warming. It has proven itself when in government, giving solid management with policies developed from sound and balanced research and respect for statistics and expert advice. It has demonstrated respect for democracy and the traditions of Parliament and the rule of law.
I found my personal search for a political party to have been fascinating and rewarding, and I would encourage others to look at their own wants, needs and values before casting a vote in any election. Although it is very important to vote, it is even more important to know whom one is voting for.