Ruknoon Shadid Dinder
I feel like I’m making a poor attempt at a joke by mentioning Russia at the very beginning of an article about another big Western election but allow me to explain myself. Canada’s neighbour down south is waging everything short of a full-scale war against everyone and our great nation is following something closely akin to appeasement (sounds familiar?). China is back to making concentration camps. The UK is trying to get the EU to pay them to leave while EU itself can’t stop people spilling over into their borders. Hypernationalistic movements are sweeping across India and they are once again locked in a fierce battle with Pakistan over every issue. Turkey is trying its best not to become the rest of Middle East and Brazil, surprisingly, might be the one that kills us all by burning down the Amazon.
Hopefully this made you sad today. But talks like these happen almost once every few years. Every election comes with the rhetoric that humanity is on the brink of extinction and voting for the right person will somehow prevent Armageddon. The world is heading towards an increasingly perilous scenario no matter which angle you look from: social, economical, militaristic, environmental, even cultural. So why should you care? Because Russia somehow stayed unaffected, and now Putin remains the sole player left in a global game taken over by madmen. To some, that should ring a few alarm bells.
Now, you may ask why that is so significant. Well that’s because a similar situation occurred only 4 years ago. Destabilised regions in the world, financial crises and bipartisan divides fracturing nations left North America without a strong national leader to sway the masses. Everyone made the most out of it. Russia [allegedly] fixed the US elections and even made headways into Canadian and Mexican politics. China took this opportunity to bolster their tech and dominate in their regional conflicts while Germany conquered Europe economically. Now I am not trying to say that the good guys are losing to the bad guys. There is no such distinction in world politics. Instead, the important thing to note is that strong leaders are necessary to hold a country together, more so for countries as large and divisive as ours. Just look back to the 90s and you will see that it is true in the cases of Russia, Turkey and many more. These countries started to stabilise at the start of this century when charismatic leaders such as Putin and Erdogan arrived at the helm.
With the next federal election at our doorstep, Canada is once again going through the same predicament as the USA. Our nation doesn’t have that anchor we can all rally behind. In the eyes of many, the Liberals have failed to offer any real good news for the past year or two and it has soured the minds of their voter base with the SNC Lavalin controversy. On the other hand, there is still widespread mistrust against the Conservatives since they nearly ran our economy to the ground 5-6 odd years ago. NDP and Green still don’t have a large enough majority to really challenge for government and they are doing everything in their power to come 4th in any case. So what can we do in this scenario?
Much like the majority of the voters this year, our candidates party leaders are largely young and inexperienced in the governance of a country. Justin Trudeau, at 47, one of the youngest PMs in history, is still seven years older than his main opponents, Conservative Andrew Scheer and New Democrat Jagmeet Singh. Either challenger would be the second-youngest Canadian prime minister ever, barely older than Joe Clark was in 1979. Of course, age is no guarantee of wisdom, but neither of Trudeau’s opponents bears distinguished records of achievement. They may yet become great public ﬁgures. But that will have to come later, if it ever does. Ideologically we have hit a dead end with them as you cannot vote them on their legacy or principles. Promises are all we can rely on. But which promises exactly?
This election will be the election for our environment and it shows. 2 out of the top 5 trending topics are about the environment and most parties are basing their platforms around that. Apart from that, conversation is revolving around our economy as always and, with the recent headlines on mass shooting, gun safety.
Climate Change: If we can discount the People’s Party’s belief that climate change is not a human caused predicament, all parties agree on taking steps to mitigate the damage to our environment. The most divisive issue seems to be the Carbon tax. While most left leaning parties argue that it is a good method to reduce emissions according to the Paris Accords, Conservatives seem to believe it is simply another Liberal tax grab. Instead, they are going to offer tax credit towards the reduction in carbon footprint. The methods in reducing the impact on the environment has also varied. The conservatives have not offered a timeline for their projects, the NDP has set some extremely unpopular and relatively unachievable targets. Liberal support for pipelines and oil projects has left many questioning where their allegiances truly lie. Amidst this, the Green Party seems to have realistic goals which do not hamper economic progression while aiming towards total carbon neutrality by 2050.
Winner: Green Party
Gun Regulation: Trudeau’s party seems to have the most comprehensive plan for increasing gun regulation. However, those who believe gun ownership is not related to shootings will find the Conservative plan more appealing. The other parties have not offered plans that cover all bases or flatly refused to admit the reality of mass shootings. It boils down to individual preference but for the time being, the liberals seem more ready to tackle the issue with their well-fleshed out plan of action.
Taxation: The Conservatives are going against the flow to lower tax rates for all. How Scheer’s party will recoup the deficit from this remains to be seen. However, the Liberals have failed on their promises to balance the budget and as long as they keep increasing their spending on social reforms, increased taxes will not reduce deficits. With a growing economy it may not be a problem but one recession with the deficits could ruin the economy built over the years. The other parties have released no tangible plan to balance the budget so this remains a two horse race.
Before I wrap this up, I must add a disclaimer. Everything I said is solely how I view things based on the information I have gathered. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views. This is merely to help you make an informed decision. If you would like to discuss your views, I am always happy to talk and learn. However, partisan attacks on my beliefs are something I don’t tolerate. Failure to reach a common ground is why there is presently so much divisiveness between us and we must attempt to remove this plague.