Monday, September 29, 2008

Just a few thoughts about why Stephen Harper will not be getting my vote

1. Harper’s frightening complacency and wilful ignorance about the environment and the immediate (soon-to-be irreversible) state of emergency. I can’t express it better than Mary-Margaret Jones, who has also gathered links to other significant resources about this issue: First time that I’ve been scared

2. Harper’s blatantly ignorant dismissal of the wide socioeconomic and cultural benefits of the arts. I will refer you to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s thoughtful and eloquent response, Dear Mr. Harper, as well as Margaret Atwood's rebuttal to Harper's pithy remarks, To be creative is, in fact, Canadian.

3. The Conservative policies of withdrawing support for social programs and institutions, and wantonly withholding the federal payments to provinces and to municipalities which are needed to support education and health care and transportation, to repair our crumbling urban infrastructures and to maintain all the standards by which Canada was known in my youth as one of the very best countries in the world in which to live.

But that’s okay, because the Conservatives are returning all this to Canadians in the form of tax cuts to individuals and to corporations. In the former case, these are often measly amounts compared to the wider social costs of losing those programs (and disproportionately given to those who need it the least rather than to those would benefit most from keeping the programs). In the latter case, supporting socioeconomic and legal structures that assign to corporations the rights which should belong to (human) persons, providing protections far greater than those given to persons, while simultaneously eroding those of the individual.

This October, I will be voting. Unfortunately that might mean that I will choose to vote defensively – by casting my ballot for the candidate most likely to prevent a Conservative victory in my riding.

Or perhaps I will throw such cautions to the wind and vote with my conscience for the candidate/party I believe could bring the most beneficial change to our society if given the opportunity, in the vain hope that even if my candidate doesn’t ultimately win a seat, the numbers will still demonstrate my beliefs about how my country should and could be run.

I won't presume to tell others how to vote. Whatever you believe in your heart will be best for your country and the world we live in, however you intend to cast your ballot, this October in Canada (and this November in the U.S.): please go and VOTE. As knitters, we have learned how doing one small and simple thing over and over again is a powerful engine for creating something good; the cumulative effect of many people doing one small simple thing is a powerful engine for change in society. But it only works if we do it.

3 comments:

Suna said...

This whole arts thing has made a lot of us US citizens who had the naive view that "it's all better in Canada, so we can move there if those people we don't like win" pretty despondent. Where will we go NOW??? And Canada has all those knitters! We like them! But, hey I am a writer (though being a technical writer doesn't feel very artistic, but at least I blog) and a musician, and a knitter and it really makes me sad to see the very important work all who work in the arts do devalued. Like Stephanie said in per post, many "non artists" rely on the arts every day. Can't wait to see the speeches Harper writes all by himself! (Glad I NEVER had to listen to a speech written by GW!)

I look forward to a time where our leaders view the people they serve as colleagues, members of the same community, and as valuable as they are. All us citizens, even the poor, the stupid and the sick, have value. (So do the rich and smart!)

Carol said...

I am at my wits end. My MP is Liberal. I really don't like him as he has done NOTHING for my riding. I won't vote conservative. Which leaves NDP and Greens. Which also have their problems. Not sure what I'm gonna do.....

eusebius said...

Amen.
Thank goodness my riding will most certainly go NDP again.