Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Here's Hoping

Well after Paul Martin's little speech tonight, it looks like an election this year (sooner or later) is a sure thing. With that in mind, here are a few of my hopes for the coming year in federal politics:

Here's hoping that at the end of the Gomery inquiry and the subsequent criminal investigations we will be able to sort through all the accusations and denials and blame passing so that those who were innocent will have their names cleared and those who betrayed the public trust will get the punishment they deserve.

Here's hoping that all parties take from this mess a clear message that Canadians have no tolerance for the corruption of our political processes.

Here's hoping that they don't take the message that it's better to sweep this kind of thing under the rug rather than hold an inquiry to find out the truth.

Here's hoping that the damage done to relations between Québec and the federal government can be repaired. While I only lived in Québec briefly, I have a lot of respect for Québec and Quebecers and this country would be much the poorer for their absence.

Here's hoping that people don't read into this affair that all politicians and civil servants are crooks and liars. I'm certainly no insider but I've held a few jobs in both the Federal and Provincial civil service and, in my experience, the vast majority of both politicians and civil servants are people of sincerity and integrity. In fact, one of the drawbacks of working in government for me is that there is so much concern for accountability and transparency that sometimes it's hard to get things done (i.e. you have to have an open competitive bidding process to buy a stapler). Having said that...

Here's hoping that every party comes into the next campaign with a platform which includes clear, sensible changes to the rules and procedures of government to ensure that this kind of thing can't happen again - and that nobody asks us to just trust them because they're not the Chrétien Liberals and they wouldn't do that kind of thing. Maybe Andrew Coyne could be put in charge of this.

Here's hoping that if the Liberals win the next election they don't take it to mean that they can get away with just about anything and still get elected.

Here's hoping that if the Conservatives win the next election they stick to policies like clean government, good financial management, effective environmental stewardship, and care for the less fortunate members of society - policies that a majority of Canadians support - and that they don't go down the fiscally reckless, corporate giveaway, scapegoating of the poor and minority road like other right wing governments have done in the last 10 years in North America.

Here's hoping that if the NDP gains power from an election that they use it to bring in proportional representation so we no longer have to worry about people elected by 40% of the population governing like they got 100% of the votes.

Here's hoping that our unelected network executives will bow to the will of the people and allow the Green Party leader to participate in the televised debates. Now more than ever Canadians need to be informed that they have more options than a choice between the ghosts of corruption present and corruption past.

But most of all, here's hoping that among all the politicking and maneuvering for position and breathless horserace reporting, people and politicians actually manage to find some time to debate some issues and to move forward on legislation to make the lives of Canadians better which, last time I checked, was what government was supposed to be about.

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