By Jason Menard
Awish Aslam booted from a local rally for Prime Minister Stephen Harper because of a Facebook photo? Who cares?
Ali Aref Hamadi asked to leave the same reception due to the presence of an NDP bumper sticker on his car? Who cares?
An election caused by the Harper government’s contempt of parliament charges? Arrogantly suggesting that Canadians don’t care about those same contempt charges? Previous elections called in a way that circumvented the very fixed-election-dates policy implemented? Partisan appointments to a Senate that he promised to make accountable? Promises to decentralize parliamentary power and an election campaign fuelled by promises of truth, accountability, and openness undone by an essential gag order on Ministers and a rationalization of power in the PMO?
Scare tactics alluding to the Liberal’s desire to form a Bloc-supported coalition government, despite having expressed a desire (and signed a letter) to do the same himself in the past? A sudden reversal on his campaign promise to touch income trusts? Decidedly non-Conservative spending patterns? The Cadman affair?
Again. Who cares?
If there was an Apathy Party, it would win an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons. That’s the sad – and overwhelming – statement that opponents of the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper have to deal with during this election.
If we read about even a handful of these (or other allegations and broken promises that I’ve left out) incidents happening outside of our borders, we’d be enraged at how the democratic process was being exploited. But when it’s in our own backyard, Canadian voters just don’t seem to care.
So, in the end, the polls continue to point towards another Conservative minority government. If those come to fruition, that means more of the same – ineffective parliamentary posturing, broken promises, and likely another date at the polls in a year or two down the road.
Of course, that voter indifference only serves to bolster the majority dreams of the Conservative Party. In 2008, voter turnout was the lowest percentage of registered voters ever recorded. Only 58.8 per cent of eligible voters (42 per cent of the population cast a ballot. And low voter turnout generally helps those with the most zealous supporters, which the Conservatives are counting on.
It’s discouraging. Not only are people not going to vote; many that do are not involving themselves in the process. Misinformation is spreading like wildfire, and the attack ads we’ve seen just play upon that. Take, for example, Harper’s Evil Coalition campaign. He knows most people won’t delve into history to see that he was willing to be part of a similar alliance in order to topple the Paul Martin-led government.
Voter apathy, a fractured left-wing vote, and an acceptance of deceit and lies as the status quo – it’s discouraging for those of us who love this country and want to see it grow and prosper.
Yes, there are those who are passionate about the process. There are those who are actively trying to educate their friends, family, and associates about the political process. There are those who are going out to debates and rallies, reading multiple opinions on-line and in print, and generally acting like responsible Canadians who are taking their voting obligations seriously. But they’re in the minority.
I’m not here to tell you for whom you should vote. That is a personal matter and I firmly believe you should vote for the candidate with whom you feel most comfortable as your representative. However, I’m not going to lie and say that I’d advocate the Conservatives, but if, after examining the truth and the behaviour of Harper and his party, you feel that they best represent your interest, then more power to you — and to them.
All I ask is that you take time to care, because under this government the answer to the question of “Who Cares?” has sadly been, “Not enough.”