Friday, March 19, 2010

When all the parties underwhelm, what to do?

I am rather underwhelmed by all the major political parties in BC and Federally. It feels like no one is thinking about the bigger picture.

BC Liberals:
I like a lot of the MLAs, I think they are good people who want to honestly improve BC. Gordon Campbell has impressed me for years with his ability to understand policy and see a bigger picture. He is also a man that is willing to listen to arguments and change his position on an issue.

What I do not get is the weak governance that has occurred of late. The decisions made to save a few dollars in the short term makes no political sense when one looks at the short term political damage and the long term financial problems that could be caused. The government feels small minded and short sighted from these decisions.

Being involved with various community groups, the reaction of the public involved in these groups to the small cuts has been dramatically worse for the government than the cuts really deserve.

I see no vision from the government. Why does Gordon Campbell want to be premier now that the Olympics have come and gone?

One of the few good decisions the government has made, the HST, is obviously pulling down the popularity of the party.

BC NDP:
The party has some definite decent MLAs, people I could support in government, people I will likely donate money to in the next election. My problem is that the party is so utterly without vision as to make the Liberal government look good in comparison.

The NDP has no clear agenda, no policy for government, and seems to drift from one issue to another in the worst of populist chasing of public support.

I remain concerned about the NDP with respect to economic issues because I do not get a sense that the party has really understanding of things. The luke warm reaction to green power generation and the lack of any really discussion of natural resource issues is of a huge concern to me.

I am very surprised at the lack of strong response from the NDP about the current budget. Yes, they have said some things, but I can see a lot more they could be saying that they are not.

FEDERAL
Conservatives
I am a libertarian by nature and my hope was that Stephen Harper would govern as a libertarian. There is less and less I can be comfortable with from how the government operates.

I like Stephen Harper as PM because he knows how to govern well and be decisive. Too bad he is not pushing for a better agenda for government.

Federally there are a lot more Conservative MPs that concern me, especially ones from the east. There is an arrogance among too many of them, they certainly are not Reformers of old.

I am also very, very concerned about the large deficits the government is running up. I look around at all the stimulus spending and see that most of the projects that were not going to happen anyway look like they are badly managed and costing more money to do than needed. Better stimulus would have been to reduce the taxes collected from the consumers and exports businesses.

Federal Liberals:
Why does Michael Ignatieff want to be Prime Minister? It is still not clear to me. What is even less clear is why the Liberals want to be in government when Harper is governing much like the Liberals would.

Canada needs a dramatic change to the federal government, the Liberals are the party of the status quo and will not change anything.

The more I see of Ignatieff, the more I think he would make a good prime minister if he has a decent party behind him. I see very little evidence that the Liberals have the front bench they need to govern.

I find their handling of the Afghan detainee issue deplorable. They were the government when it occurred so they should know what was going on. Does it help anyone raising the issue in the way they are when the government has already taken action to change things?

One of the more positive aspects of the arrogant Chretien government was their ability to manage the finances of Canada. They preformed the hard task that was needed in the 1990s to fix the financial mess of the government. I am now concerned that the financial discipline no longer exists in the party.

Federal NDP:
In BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia the provincial parties look like sober serious parties. The federal party is out of touch with reality and going nowhere. Jack Layton needs to step aside and the party needs become something like Labour in the UK or Labor in Australia.

The federal NDP has too many fringe people too close to the party. People who are conspiracy theorists, economically blinkered, or supportive of fascists like Hamas, Chavez or Ahmadinejad.

The federal NDP also has close to no MPs that I think are really capable of being in parliament and making a difference. Nathan Cullen from Skeena is one of the few.

Bloc Quebecois:
The party takes up space in Ottawa and does not even do anything to push for their primary issue, the independence of Quebec. Having close to 50 MPs in parliament that just sit there and collect their large salary but do little in relation to governance is a major problem.

The idea of getting more power for provinces is something I support and think would be good for Canada. The Bloc could be moving that agenda forward, but nope, they do not do it.

What To Do?:
Luckily it is a long time till a provincial election and I can hope someone becomes inspiring - yes, I live in hope of something that is unlikely. If the leaders remain the same, I will likely vote for the Liberals.

Federally it is much harder on one level. We could see an election in the next year and I am not sure I would be happy with any party. The one thing I do have is a local candidate I can support, Patrick Hunt for the Conservatives. He is the sort of visionary Reformer from the 1980s and 90s. He also backs electoral reform.

Do I want to the Conservatives to win the next election? Only if they can get a majority. My hope is that a term of a Harper Conservative majority government would see the sort of changes we need federally in Canada.

Because no party is inspiring and I can find few people out there that care about any of them, making any predictions on an election provincially or federally makes little or no sense. The public could very easily dramatically change their minds in an election because they are finally paying attention.
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