June 10, 2004  
Volume 98, Issue 04  

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Line up for the Hypocrisy Derby!

Mark Polishuk
A&E Editor

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. For example:

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 Chevy Cavalier.
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?



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