I prefer Trudeau to Mulcair right now. Mulcair leads a caucus of people that includes many who got in on the brand, not on their merits as candidates for office. When it comes to policy, like the long-standing NDP goal of abolishing the senate, they publicly speak with one voice, and they've even distributed Senator "trading cards", ridiculing them and the institution, but not addressing legitimate concerns about the concentration of power in one place. Not my style.
I am a member of the Liberal party, but I don't really participate in it so much as follow it. In fact, I could not vote in this year's leadership contest that Trudeau won, because I am also a member of the Green party. Same deal there with following rather than really participating. But I get great letters from Elizabeth May once in a while. She's done just about everything one MP could ever do, and people recognize this. Imagine if there were 307 (337 after 2015) others like her. Not necessarily Green MPs, just engaged and principled ones that have a tendency to say what they mean, mean what they say, and resist prejudice. Garth Turner was such an MP for the CPC, if you can believe it, but he got in trouble for blogging and he lost his re-election bid in 2008.
I think we need our representatives to reflect our 'nobler' hearts and not our fears. The CPC appeals to prejudice instead of reason: "You're either with us or against us! Now let's put all the bad guys in jail where they belong!" (Among other things, they tried to put the word "rape" back in the criminal code even though it makes people batten down the hatches. (It also shifts the discussion from symbiotic patterns of abuse to the idea that there is one evil abuser and one saintly, innocent victim.) They also raised the age of consent to 16 because apparently people any younger than 16 would never consent to sexual activity without being coerced - or, god forbid, have their own agency and seek it.*) Teens, admittedly so far ones engaged in distributing photos without consent (like the 10 in Laval), are levied with child pornography charges - more words that make people batten down the hatches.
* - There is a closeness-of-age exception for those younger than 16. Is it a pathology for a 15 and a 21 year old to find each other attractive? We've made acting on it illegal. Oh, by the way, you have to be 18 to have anal sex if you're not married. What good does any of this do? When it comes to young people and sexuality, we tend to assume the worst.
They're also the most secretive government we've had in ages. They've held our press, a vital institution of democracy even though it isn't part of government, in contempt. They've muzzled scientists who don't want to toe the government line.
They're also taking away the ability for registered medical marijuana users to grow their own.
What used to be the banal transgression of ripping movies is handled with criminalization because we must support the 'rights' of corporate content providers. We enter into secret negotiations with other countries to consider dramatically decreasing our internet freedom in the name of security and the Almighty Dollar.
Internationally, we may have endured damage to our reputation over environmental and diplomatic issues.
The CPC cast themselves as competent economic managers (Uh-huh...), but how much should we have gone into debt for "Canada's Economic Action Plan"? As long as the 'crisis' continues, they can keep churning out the propaganda.
In response to the November 2008 fiscal update, the opposition coalesced. Harper convinced the vicereine to allow him to shut down parliament when it turned against him. God, would we love to have been there for that conversation! He shut it down again for the 2010 Olympics.
In 2011, the government was held to be in contempt of parliament.
Let's not forget Bev Oda's entitlement to her entitlements, and her impromptu interferences: "sign below to indicate you ^NOT approve".
And the Senate: Duffy representing PEI by dint of having a cottage there and claiming his Ottawa home as a home away.
And now there's the 'cyberbullying' bill. It's hard to remain objective.
"Unite the Right" Yep. At the expense of most of the moderate element of federal conservatism.
On the bright side, electoral reform is now a hot topic, because people feel that there may something structurally deficient: it's either go all Liberal, or all NDP, because Liberal / NDP splits favour the united-right CPC. We should never accept that we have to merge the Liberal Party and the NDP just over a structural deficiency, perhaps the same way that the Reform and PC parties perhaps should not have merged. Fortunately, there's something we can do to fix this, and I don't think we'll have to open the constitution. For the next election cycle, ask the candidates at your local debate what they think about voters ranking their choices in the order of preference. Like this:
Do that *before* we open the debate on proportional representation, which among other things entrenches the role of political parties since the proportional, at-large seats will be filled in using ranked party lists. It's the voters that should be doing the ranking, not the parties. (Though we could require that party lists be formed by an internal ranked ballot among party members / supporters. That wouldn't be so bad. But still, parties. Tolerate them in practice, but avoid them in principle.)
Anyway, I hope the Liberals do well in tonight's by-elections. I don't want to paint all CPC supporters as supporting all the nonsense coming from His Imperious Majesty. If you prefer conservatism, that's a-okay by me. But let's also have democracy and engagement.