FACE TO FACE: What don't you like about the party you like?
This week, my let-'em-eat-cake colleague and I have agreed to focus our attention on what we dislike about our preferred parties in this federal election rather than on criticizing the other guy's bunch, which we believe might well ruin the country.
Listening to my neo-con friend berate his federal Conservatives for not being fiscally ruthless enough and for not calling environmentalism a socialist plot will undoubtedly be a painful experience.
Despite this, you will not see me list in rebuttal, the myriad ways the Conservative government is ruining Canada, what with never-ending corporate tax cuts, sucking up to rural gun owners and promulgating a foreign policy that seeks to make Canada the 51st U.S. state.
Rather, as agreed, I offer a brief critique of the shortcomings of the less regressive parties in this federal election.
What's wrong with the Liberals and the NDP? Well, how about this: They are the same.
Both are fiscally conservative parties with an unthreatening veneer of social conscience.
Both want to be prudent in balancing the budget, protecting Medicare and giving a bit more to pensioners.
Both employ a "when in doubt, praise our troops" strategy.
They are parties between which people such as Ujjal Dosanjh, Bob Rae and others quite comfortably - and opportunistically - flit. The two parties have become indistinguishable.
Liberals have always been strategically, rather than ideologically, driven. The NDP has now assured its ongoing irrelevance by doing the same, downplaying ideology in favour of strategy. Is promising a few more shekels for pensioners by slightly increasing corporate tax all they've got? Where's the aggressive attack on soaring profits and corporate giveaways? Where's the gritty expose of the widening gap between rich and poor in Canada, like the "Corporate Welfare Bums" campaign of the '70s?
Where's the foreign policy that reiterates what Lester Pearson pioneered and most Canadians favour, that Canada's international contribution should be that of UN peacekeeper, not that of a minor appendage in unilateral U.S. actions or those of obsolete cold war coalitions?
The majority of Canadian voters are not Conservative but the votes of Canada's progressive majority will likely be neatly split between Frick and Frack.
Read what Terry O'Neill has to say here.
Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.