Line up for the Hypocrisy Derby!
Deciding who to vote for in the federal election
is like choosing teams on the schoolyard and having to pick
either the fat kid or the kid with asthma. It’s not a
question of who’s the most impressive, but one of who’s
the most inoffensive.
The template for a politician in 2004 is to be as middle-of-the-road
as possible so as not to lose any potential votes. A politician
will talk at length about his opponents’ flaws, but when
pressed on his own views the Hypocrisy Derby is off and running.
Jack Layton says a lot of stuff that sounds good in theory,
but avoids that little detail of how we’re going to pay
for it. Layton also delivers his message in a way that makes
me think he’s going to offer me a lease on a ‘93
Stephen Harper bashes the Liberals’ wasteful spending,
then turns around and presents his plan to have national referendums
to solve issues like the gun registry and the same-sex marriage
debate. After all, the role of a government isn’t to
actually make decisions, it’s to act as a glorified version
of Ryan Seacrest.
Paul Martin is the master of vague generality, promising changes
without saying what was wrong with the last decade of Liberal
rule for fear of pissing off the Chrétien loyalists
within the party. Don’t worry, Mr. Martin — so
what if a sizable chunk of your party doesn’t like you?
They’re just jealous because you hang out with Bono.
Despite all of their screw-ups and the fact that Martin reminds
me of Gil from The Simpsons, I’m still going to vote
Liberal. I get a feeling of impending doom with Layton and
Harper, but with Martin, it’s just a feeling of impending “meh.”
Go back to the 1974 election. You had Pierre Trudeau, Ed Broadbent
(the most successful leader in the history of the New Democratic
Party) or Robert Stanfield, leader of the Progressive Conservatives
and generally considered to be the best Canadian politician
to never become prime minister.
You can argue about their personalities or their politics,
but if push had ever come to shove with any of these men leading
the country, Canada would’ve been in pretty good shape
behind a leader that was at least respected, if nothing else.
Given that there will likely be a minority government, the
legacy of the new prime minister will be Joe Clark-esque in
his inability to get anything done.
Is it too much to ask that out of three candidates — or
four if you count Gilles Duceppe — we get at least ONE
who is a leader by merit rather than a leader by default?