Editorial: Silly Season Is Upon Us

By John Swartz

Canada is going to be a very different place 4 years from now. If you thought the last 4 years of change was a lot, strap in, the pace of change is only accelerating.

What this country will become and what it looks and feels like is very much dependent on the federal election. We could have different good or different bad. Look southward to see how bad things can get even in three year’s time. While many things happen without government getting involved, there’s a lot that needs government involvement.

There are going to be people out of work, people who want to work if there were jobs to go to. Very little is happening to address the change in the nature of work steamrollering toward us. This is a big problem far too many politicians will not even speak of (or deny). Unemployment affects so many things, often in ways which aren’t apparent.

Our climate is changing. You and I can do all we want in our own back yards, but on the big stage nothing of substance is happening. I have seen, heard or read little indicating there will be any change in the rhetoric during the next few weeks to seriously address the bull in the china shop.

Those are the two most important things we face. It’s not SNC Lavalin’s historical and ongoing shenanigans. It’s not who posted what on social media years ago when they were stupid teenagers. It’s not what China can do to our economy without breaking a sweat. Nothing else matters as much as dealing concretely with climate change and addressing the millions who will get chucked to the side of the road when their jobs disappear. Everything flows from those two items.

First we have to re-institute the social contract businesses had to toe-the-line on once upon a time in order to do business in this country; our collective wellbeing is not expendable for the bottom line and benefit of a few shareholders. Corporations should make money, and they would do well with a 2 to 5% return, just like they did when economy expanded the greatest during the period post-war to the late 60s. That means investing in R&D, reducing pollution, paying workforces properly and yes, balancing the tax load to what you and I pay.

If we plan properly, invest in the right technology (how fast we can send electrons to each other is not as important as how fast we can switch to how we heat our homes) and put the right tax and financial incentives in place so you and me and everyone who doesn’t count personal assets with column headers reading in millions can afford to change our methods of operation; if we, our government, invested our tax dollars into technological development to reduce or eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels, we won’t have to worry so much about unemployment, we won’t have to be afraid of the Chinese or presidents with a thin grasp of reality and what they can do to us; we won’t have to worry about dumping more than our share of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Our economy will be homegrown, clean and strong.

On the other issues, we will need to educate a lot of people. We could now, if it wasn’t for personally mortgaging the future to pay tuition. More people are going to need more medical care simply because of the demographics. Those have to be paid for, but technological advancement (better and cheaper) will likely keep many expenses in check. However, taxation is not democratic right now, business spread the myth we were being unfair to them and what do you know? There aren’t enough tax dollars to pay for everything we need to do (evidence = growing national debt started with and rises in step with tax cuts).

Note to some readers, this is not a socialist idea; it’s about equal and shared responsibility.

Percentage Canada Government Gross Debt to GDP

Reagan/Mulroney markers added by SUNonline/Orillia

I could go on enumerating each and every other important issue, but some of the effort expended dealing with climate change and the changing economy will rub off on all kinds of areas of regulatory action simply because we’ll have to deal with those two issues logically instead of emotionally.

Here is how you help achieve some semblance of electing the better government. Forget your party affiliation, whether you acquired it because daddy voted for them, or because you dislike the other leaders because of the clothes they wear, or their sex, or their ability to play the political assassination game, forget the colour of the lawn sign.

Vote for the scientists. Vote for the technocrats. Vote for the educated. Vote for whoever can speak English in a coherent manner (this is a good indicator of a mind that can process information). By the way, the point made also applies to those who can weave 50 or 100 words into poetry and still not say anything.

Read. Don’t listen to radio (please don’t, both talk radio stations in our area have obviously biased hosts for one particular political philosophy), or rely on TV news which is news light by any standard, or get your information from Facebook or Twitter. You have to read.

What you read is important too. Read SUNonline/Orillia. Read Orillia Matters and Orillia Today. Read the Star and the Globe. You could even read the National Post, if you recognize their point of view infects their stories more so than the Star and Globe; at least they aren’t the Toronto Sun. Read them all, but skip the salacious stuff, find the content about the issues, it’s there if you look – and encourage your friends to do the same.

Reading is how you figure out which party is actually thinking about the next 10 years, or the next 20 in terms of whether there is a Canada to govern. You may have to vote strategically for a local candidate you don’t like if the tea leaves and polls indicate the party that deserves to lead us (which is not the same as the party with the best polling numbers) has a chance to form a government.

We have two right leaning parties (Greens and Conservatives) and two left leaning parties (Liberals and NDP) and a bunch of others. On the right, most would be surprised they have a choice because the Greens are so bad at playing the political game as it exists and actually spelling out what their party philosophy is, but if you think a conservative approach (not the party) is correct you do have a choice. The choice on the left, if that’s where you believe we should be going, will be tough if vote splitting is important to you.

For the next 5 weeks, pay attention. It isn’t so hard. The rest of us are counting on you. Good luck figuring it all out. We’ll do our best here at SUNonline/Orillia to make it clear as mud.

(Photo by Gerd Altmann – Pixabay)


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