Well, a week into the 08 election, and hardly a word of substance from anyone to date. This is not that surprising from politicians who are generally pretty substance-free, but it might be considered a bit troubling from the media of the nation, who are supposed to be holding politicians' feets to the fire, as it were, and eliciting good information from them about important issues to help the people of Canada decide who to vote for. If the media shirk this all important job, who do we have to hold THEIR feets to the fire?
Some things I (and I know many others) would like a bit of talk on:
1. the SPP/NAU - few Canadians really want to become even more under the influence of American decision-makers than we are already, yet this undertaking, begun with Martin and carried on by Harper, promises to do just that, yet they are keeping it all as much as possible under the radar. This makes many people more than a bit suspicious of their 'nothing to worry about here folks go on home now and let the adults take care of such things!!' explanations when asked about it, and there are a lot of scare stories running around the internet, everything from the NAFTA Superhighway to the common Amero currency - wouldn't it be useful to get some information from someone knowledgable about what is happening along these lines (you could try Connie Fogal of the Canadian Action Party, someone else whom the media is keeping pretty much under the radar, although CAP is a registered national political party with many candidates in the election), and then get the major parties to put at least something on the record about this, and ask them a few questions so the voters can judge their reactions? Would this be more useful to voters than a day or two spent headlining a story about a sad ad about a bird pooping on Dion or how suitable an apology was or the brand of a leader's aircraft? How many non-issues can you find to avoid the real ones?
2. Democracy - it is looking very much like Harper et al. may well wind up with a majority government, with 35% or even less of the vote (and with another low turnout probable, that would mean maybe 20% support of eligible voters), thus they will have carte blanche to do more or less as they please for the next 4-5 years (no, the 'fixed election date' of 4 years is, as we have just seen, meaningless, if it pleases the PM to simply ignore it - evidently nobody in either the media or other political parties cared to challenge him on this in any way other than verbally). As 'democracy' is commonly understood to mean 'majority rule', and as it is quite clear that a Harper majority would be undertaking many important policies opposed by a majority of Canadians, this would be a highly undemocratic situation, so shouldn't we at least be talking about some way to get more 'democracy' into Canadian politics, so that more things the government got up to were supported by some kind of 'true' majority of the citizens? Where is the media on this one? A media that cared about democracy would surely recognize that some form of proportional representation is an absolute must in a multi-party state such as Canada, in order to stop minorities from 'legitimately' running the country in a way most of its citizens oppose. Kind of odd that Canada and the US are the only two modern western 'democracies' without this modern voting system, almost as odd as the widespread media opposition to PR, as shown in the attempt last year in Ontario to change the system there - is it the role of the media to advocate for one thing or another en masse, either directly as with the PR issue or by gatekeeping as with others such as the SPP, or to give citizens the information they need to make intelligent choices?
3. The Economy - is obviously in a considerable mess, and yet the media does nothing more than mouth same-old-same-old platitudes, and offer interviews of A blaming B and vice versa and both promising to do wonderful things if we elect them, which is not that helpful. A good media would be looking behind curtains to get some better information about what is going on here - doors such as this one - Banketeering
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4. Afghanistan - obviously a very serious issue, but I have yet to see a headline on it, or any questions of the leaders or parties about it. Far more coverage given to the bird poop ad, which says a great deal about the media here. Most Canadians do not think we should be doing what we are doing in Afghanistan, so shouldn't the media be getting some clear and straight answers from politicians about whether they care about what Canadians think about this?
5. The media - as noted in these instances, the media as well as the politicians seems to be pretty much out to lunch on 'issues' in the election, so maybe somebody ought to be investigating them a bit, too. Why are they not covering substantial issues such as these? Why was the initial reaction of the media to the calling of the election 'Oh, go back home, citizens, hahaha, nothing interesting in Canada, we're all too busy watching the amazingly interesting US VP 'controversy'..'? Really (and again, I know I speak for a lot of other people who care what happens in this country), I could care less about Ms Palin and American media spin, but I am very concerned about the above issues (and others) that the media apparently do not want Canadians thinking about. Why are they allowing the politicians to avoid these issues? Why have you been trying to destroy Dion for the last 20 months, and carry on still with a constant stream of 'haha look at that ineffectual excuse for a leader' 'stories' (and I am no Liberal supporter, but this is too blatant...)? Are the media actually part of the problem here?
Oh well, I suppose that's plenty to ensure this letter never gets published or acknowleged. But thoughtful people understand that something is not right in the state of Canada, or the state of the Canadian media, and you should understand that it is not only politicians who are judged at times like this.
(Dave Patterson is a Canadian social-democrat-anarchist patriot, living in exile in Thailand where the process of making a living for a non-corporate worker bee is less onerous, until people in Canada start to care about saving their country. (more...