Editorial: Big Day Tomorrow

By John Swartz

Chile. Lebanon. Hong Kong. Iraq. Syria.

In Canada we’re having an election.

The United States.

It seems so civil, what we do.

Of course, if you don’t exercise your right to vote, we could always drift upward on the list above.

George Carlin’s point of view about voting, “I don’t vote because I believe if you vote, you have no right to complain… you are responsible for what they have done, you voted them in… I, on the other hand… am in no way responsible for the mess I had nothing to do with,” is not operative. While Carlin usually makes a good point, on this we disagree, even though on other subjects maybe on evidence of what we end up with sometimes he’s right.

Maybe if enough people voted intelligently, threw out the single issue motivation for voting, disregarded the pandering of lowest common denominator news stories, really took a look at the platform policies, weren’t so greedy to fall for the latest in lower tax plans (which usually have no benefit for most of us) – we’d end up with a government that works better for us.

Maybe if government always acted in the best interest of all of us (which is not the same as the majority of us), did visionary things to lift our quality of life higher and higher, and planned for the long term instead of 4 years, we’d all be inclined to vote because there would be obvious value doing it.

Maybe if the parties sought out and recruited the best minds, scientists, doctors, engineers, teachers/academics, artists, historians and philosophers (not political talking heads, but people who actually spend time researching and thinking about life’s issues) – you know, put obviously knowledgeable people in front of us to choose from – we’d all look forward to voting day.

Tomorrow the nation makes a choice, or some us who live in the nation will. Having stayed close to political things for a lifetime, it appears this election is the most crucial we have had to face. There is really only one prime consideration, which is not to say single issue, and its climate change. We agree with the Greens, all other issues are connected to each other in some way and in the current case, climate change is a big factor because, well, nothing else matters, not future job prospects, better healthcare, clean water, etc. if our climate gets any worse.

It’s OK, if you don’t believe, others are doing plenty of worrying for you, and others will save your butt – whether you want to be saved or not. Here’s the thing about this issue (and many others) whether or not you believe is immaterial weighed against the facts and daily evidence surrounding your rose coloured glasses.

Our political system is not understood well, which is maybe the fault of media placing emphasis on what the party leaders do, say and eat. The Simcoe North People’s Party candidate put it best when he said unless you live in a particular part of Saskatchewan, British Columbia or a couple ridings in Quebec you are not voting for Scheer, May, Trudeau or Bernier. OK, we’ll include Brampton where Jagmeet Singh lives.

You are voting for Stanton, Brown, Makk, Belcourt, Hawes or Powell. That’s it. One only, no returns, no refunds.

SUNonline/Orillia published candidate profiles of those running our riding. You should read them. I hope what comes across from each is the depth of conviction and knowledge each has. This is the best crop of candidates from all parties we’ve seen in decades. If the overriding concern outlined above wasn’t the case the choice for people who don’t pay much attention to politicians and elections would be very difficult because each candidate interviewed entertained opposing considerations and often agreed there was merit which should be taken into account in their own party’s platforms. That is rare. When they disagreed, they were eloquent and not once relied on slogans, party hack lines, vagaries or obfuscation. They addressed the maybe not so top of mind issues SUNonline put forward and each had one or two things to offer their opponents would find merit in.

The choice is simplified because of climate change. Three parties do not put stock in what the rest of the world and what virtually all scientists, except for .9%, understand. Informed voters should rightly reject those ballot choices.

That’s not going to happen in one case because our take on the various opinion polls, looking at the scenery around here, observing how the published stories get circulated and observing reactions of audiences at forums is we think Canada will have a minority government by the time the hand crosses from Monday to Tuesday.

Whether it’s going to be Conservative or Liberal is hard to tell. Our money is on Liberal because whoever wins the most seats, even if it’s only by 1, will need the support of one other, or maybe two other parties to form a government. We just don’t see how either the NDP or Greens will support the Conservatives based on climate change policy. Regardless of any other meritorious points in the Conservative platform, on climate change they are on the wrong side of history. This means if the Liberals are only a few seats back they could still form the government with the help of orange and/or green jacketed MPs.

Overwhelmingly Canadians said climate change is the number one issue. Some media in the past few days have tried to prop up other issues, healthcare for example, as possible most important issue contenders, but they remain contenders.

Many people will feel a moral urge to vote for the Greens and if Simcoe North was a riding where the Greens had a chance this would be fine, but the reality is they will be third or fourth. Of course both Green and NDP parties believe people should not vote strategically and they will benefit if people don’t, but neither will win the riding anyhow.

This leaves a vote for a party that can win and here is the choice. Vote for the current governing party which already has policies in place and working regarding climate change, or vote for the party that wants to remove one of the most effective tools, the carbon tax, which will do more on its own to get us to reevaluate our individual choices on carbon producing practices than anything else – and also has little of consequence in their platform to deal with climate change.

The fact is the carbon tax, or fee as the Greens would rather it be called, is not going to take money from you. All of us, save for a very few people in this riding, will get more back at income tax time than we will front at the pump. The fee is a conditioning exercise, very similar to tobacco and alcohol taxes – with differences – to get us to cut back on things we can control that are bad. Just ask a former smoker how effective tobacco taxes have been.

We think there has never been a clearer question to answer, are you for or against doing something on climate change? Whichever your answer, that’s how you vote. History will judge if you are right, if we get far enough along to bother recording history.

Vote early. This is not Chicago, don’t vote often.


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