Crawl Across the Ocean

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Can I Get That in Writing?

Against my better judgement, I watched about an hour of the debate yesterday. Afterwards, I tried to think of any new information I had gained and could only come up with Paul Martin's out of the blue announcement that the Liberals would remove the Federal Government's ability to use the notwithstanding clause. Maybe the lack of new information just reflects me paying a fair bit of attention to politics, I'm not sure.

I guess that doing a good job in the debate must be tough - the party leaders sure make it look tough, at any rate. On the other hand, I am sure that being the moderator of a debate can't be easy, yet Steve Paiken, who I always enjoyed watching on Studio 2 on TVO, made it look pretty easy, and the questions he asked were pretty well thought out, in my opinion.

But in terms of helping me decide who to vote for? - pretty much useless. Part of the trouble is that I think I am in the minority which prefers people to just tell it like it is rather than concealing everything in spin and talking points1. But only Duceppe (who has little on the line in the English debates) even approaches this style. I think Harper would like to, but he knows he'd get killed if he did. Meanwhile Martin and Layton have internalized the spinning approach to talking so that they probably don't even realize they are doing it anymore.

In the Globe, Scott Colborne (sub. only) is on the same wavelength and suggests that the leaders should watch Office Space and start acting like the main character in that movie does after being hypnotized (he starts telling everyone exactly what he thinks about everything). Of course the same straight talking relaxed character in the movie also embarks on a plan to embezzle millions of dollars so the leaders wouldn't want to take the analogy too far. Still, it would work for me, even though I think the media would spin whatever the straight-talking leader said into a big crisis and they'd be back to sounding like a pre-programmed drone in no time. It's also too bad that one of the most prominent politicians who succeeded with a straight-talking strategy - Mike Harris - was also one of the worst politicians (from a policy perspective) I've ever encountered. Sigh.

Anyway, all this is a distraction from the business of figuring out which party's policies would benefit the country most (damage the country least, if you're cynical) and who I should vote for. It sure would be helpful if the parties would put their proposed policies in writing, sometime before the election. At this point I'm getting close to voting Green, simply because they are the only party that has a platform (if I'm wrong please direct me to any newly released platforms I might have missed).


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1 Of course, if you got people to self-identify, this would be a huge majority, but I think a lot of people are kidding themselves. Look for people who routinely write posts and make comments expressing shock and horror about what so and so said, often taking it out of context or harping on comments made years ago as the type of people who demand that politicians talk only in drone-mode for fear of setting loose the hounds of outrage.

7 Comments:

  • Like you, I am still unclear as to which way I will vote. I watched last night in hopes that some more detail would be provided on certain issues. Like the mandatory gun sentencing for example, I want to know how many more prisons will need to be built (since Harper doesn't want house arrest etc for gun crimes there will be a lot more prisoners) and at what cost. Or how does this plan 'prevent' the rise in gun crime etc. Whenever a question asking 'how' came up, the leaders always seemed to get off track and not provide an answer but hey, isn't that what they always do anyway?

    As for the Green Party, you'd be amazed at the amount of people I know that are taking their Liberal vote and putting it with the Green.

    I saw the new Liberal ad today, where they talk of a Harper win putting a smile on Bush's face. I couldn't help but chuckle thinking how entertaining the next two weeks are going to get. LOL

    By Anonymous Kim, at 4:00 PM  

  • Declan you're right, only the Greens have published their platforms so far.

    I sent a number of angry emails about that yesterday. It's like they don't want us to compare and cost their policies.

    By Anonymous Deanna, at 6:17 PM  

  • Hey Kim, Dr. Dawg had a good post on crime the other day, and he linked to the archive of columns by Dan Gardner in the Ottawa Citizen, one of which talked about the cost of the Conservative crime promises.

    "Precisely how much Mr. Harper's promises would cost is impossible to know. But thanks to federal government documents obtained by the Citizen through Access to Information, they can be roughly estimated. At a minimum, the Conservative platform will cost $5 billion over 10 years, but the bill could be $11.5 billion. It could even be much more than that."

    The whole article is on the topic of costing promises to get tough on crime.

    Deanna - Yeah, I sent a couple of emails myself (more snarky than angry - but to each their own :) a few days back. You'd think if one of the leading parties had released their platform and kept harping on how the other party was scared to do so, they could have made some headway with that strategy, but with nobody (major) releasing their platform, there is nobody to call them on it.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:34 PM  

  • Thank you so much Declan; I'll go check it out.

    By Anonymous Kim, at 7:04 PM  

  • Well, the Bloc's platform has been out since the first day, not that that helps you. And the NDP just released their platform tomorrow. (It's been subsequently released today.)

    Oh, and I can't preview my comment because the word verification fails as the letters change when preview is clicked. Time to yell at blogspot.

    By Anonymous Nicholas, at 11:04 AM  

  • thanks for the tip Nicholas. You wouldn't know it from the media coverage (that the NDP released their platform).

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:44 AM  

  • How are the Greens any less corrupt than, say, the Liberals? They're being investigated by Elections Canada for a large number of Elections Act infractions (beyond just their leader misreporting his election expenses -- they're also being investigated for money laundering), and their "platform" is the most absurdly unrealistic thing imaginable (for example, they pledge to end all hunger and malnutrition within 5 years, and they'll cure cancer at the same time).

    By Anonymous matthew, at 10:18 AM  

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