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Do be careful about what you are voting for

As a senior I have come to believe that Canada has an urgent need to be concerned about its political climate. The content and tone of this Federal election campaign, to someone who grew up in the thirties and forties in the Netherlands, is raising frightening memories.

Millions of people lost their lives during the Second World War because a few adherents to a narrowly focused and simplistic ideology managed to amass the power to take over nations and superimpose their wills on whole societies.

I am not given to phobia or hyperbole, but when I look at our current election confrontations from an historic perspective, they seem eerily familiar to the process that happened in Germany during the twenties and the thirties.  Then, a culture was allowed to develop that brooked no opposition and was singularly focused on achieving its objectives at any cost.

Mud-slinging, secrecy, abuse of power, contempt for democratic institutions, and the imposition of an ideological agenda carry with them consequences that no one here is preparing to face.

As Margaret Atwood said in a similar context in the April 20 editorial page of the Globe & Mail, “Anything can happen anywhere”.   That is the real issue in this election.

Call me a scare monger if you will, but we need to start by understanding that almost all of those who went through the dark days of the thirties and forties are no longer with us. There are only a few left to call “look out!”

Oral and real personal histories are disappearing at an accelerating rate. And there is scant knowledge among the blogging generation about the slow erosion of political freedom that complacent nations allowed to happen in the nineteen thirties.

There are four questions we need to ask ourselves in the short time before the vote:
1. Do we really understand what this election is all about and why it was necessary?  Don’t be satisfied with the information blitz.  Talk to others. I am amazed by how few Canadians will engage in serious discussions about politics with friends of a different party.
2. Will we make an effort to listen to what each of the candidates is really saying?
3. Do we look carefully at the media?  Turn them down a bit.  What is said is not always what happened, and there is always ‘spin’ on its content.  Take it all with ‘a grain of salt’ as my grandmother used to say.
4. Can we look at the future thoughtfully and be happy about what the ultimate end of each political scenario will bring to our children and grandchildren?

In good and bad times we need to have regard for the opinions of others, maintain civility, and care for each other. Those qualities are at the base of the democracy that has made Canada work.  Anything less relegates us to a nation of tribes.

Vote as you wish and should, but do be careful about what you are voting for.

Willem Maas, Picton

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Rob says:

    Harper asks Liberal voters to stop NDP
    Posted on Sat, Apr 30, 2011, 7:39 pm by Julian Beltrame

    Stephen Harper has long sought to destroy the Liberal party. He’s now asking Liberals to help him do it.

    The sudden and unexpected surge of the New Democrats during the past two weeks has opened the door to two distinct and disparate outcomes — a Conservative majority or an NDP-led minority government.


    WIKILEAKS – A DAMNING Secret Report on Canada out of the U.S. (QuickieLeaks?)

  2. Rob says:

    Rob says:
    Sunday, May 1st, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    So rumour circulating that at the all candidates forum in Bloomfield Cons were directed to post Kramp signs on the school lawn before concerned voters arrived…and were directed to take them back down? If true ( and we have it on Very good authority ) shame shame SHAME ..if true. The Con incumbent should Know Better to obey the rules…as should His Party Leader.

    We all know Stephen Joseph Harper knows them ( democratic rules) -but continually disobeys them – Hence a Contempt ruling by Canadians bringing on this election storm!

    ” Harper asks Liberal voters to stop NDP ”

    – NOT ON YOUR LIFE Not on your Anti-Canadian Lives!!! Peter Tinsley please RESTORE us to INTEGRITY on May 2nd.

    Vote Peter Tinsley to STOP THIS MADNESS

  3. Rob says:

    Door campaigning in the north east quadrant reveals:

    at least 50% in favour of Liberals

    Numerous people said our ‘timing’ with the platform summary and door knocking is ‘Excellent timing’
    Many people seem to be making their minds up at the eleventh hour
    Numerous PC’s said they would ‘read’ the Liberal platform summary before Monday

    ( this is what ‘Bringing it on home’ means Peter )

    Good luck to all tomorrow

  4. Doris Lane says:

    Look at Gary’s article on where the leaders stand
    When I look at it I see Harper, a person who does not have respect for democracy.
    I see Layton who it is reported today was in a nude massage parlour when it was raided.
    And I see Ignatieff who is well educated and respected member of society.
    There is really is no choice but to vote Liberal on MOnday

  5. Gary Mooney says:

    Here’s a comparison of the platforms of the three leading parties, as published in the National Post:

  6. Gary Mooney says:

    Sometimes we underestimate the good sense of the Canadian public, but when the voting results roll in, we’re impressed with their collective insight.

    I think that the NDP surge in the polls has occurred for two reasons:

    1. In Quebec, many people have come to the conclusion that the BQ has ceased to serve a useful purpose, so they have looked for an alternative. Quebecers tend towards left-of-centre, but haven’t forgiven the Liberals for past sins, so they have decided to give the NDP a shot.

    2. Canadians want a PM whom they respect and admire. While Harper has a loyal group of supporters, many others, unhappy with his continued assaults on the democratic process and attempts to manipulate voters through scare tactics and personal attacks, have also looked for an alternative.

    People sized up the leaders during the debates and many decided that they like Jack Layton personally, as well as his upbeat message and willingness to work with the other parties, so they’re prepared to support his party this time.

    At this point, all we have is poll results which show the NDP running a close second to the Conservatives, with the Liberals a distant third. But the final results depend on who comes out to vote which is influenced by each party’s ability to get their own supporters to the polls. It would seem that the Conservatives have the strongest on-the-ground organization, with the NDP having the weakest. So the final results may tilt back somewhat towards the Conservatives and away from the NDP. We shall see.

  7. Rob says:

    -precisely why an appeal to NDP voters to share their ideologies and support Peter Tinsley on Monday would serve the majority of County voters in Ottawa and internationally.

    Michael McMahon is awesome ( and his NDP supporters) and could really do Peter Tinsley a strategic justice openly endorsing him in what’s best for Canada and the County right now!

    …just a thought -just a hope.

  8. Doris Lane says:

    Jumping Jack was saying over and over again last evening–Prime Minister Jack Layton–he is so worked up about the possibility. But do we want an NDP government in Ottawa. They have some good people but non are seasoned politicans. The Liberals have a lot of seasoned politicans who have been in cabinet before and know how things are done. Do we want a bunch of rookies at this cruical time in our history. Also beware of giving Conservatives a majority so they can run with their Reform agenda which I do not think many of us want. Remember the conservatives are not Progressive conservatives, they are an Alliance, reform and conservative collation of such.

  9. Rob says:

    ” Theeey’re at the Post….They’re OFF! – It’s ‘Booze Wagon’ out in front…’Chewing Gum’ stickin to the rail…’Who Done It Again’ going down hard on the back stretch ( Canucks don’t want a race eh?)…
    ‘One Who Would Be Left’ ..(or anything to get some hay) rounding the turn closing in…It’s ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ making his move from 3rd biting the heels of ‘Give It To Mikey’ (See If He Likes It) ….thundering Northern Dancer hooves into the stretch….(((( It’s OH CANADA ))) – ((( Oh CANADA explodes through the middle ))) This looks like a ROUT!!((( It’s OH CANADA…OH CANADA…OH CANADA, with only a few days to go)))) – ((( leading and pulling away OH CANADA )))) – The throngs are SCREAMING……

    Anything waiting in your think/gas tank Mikey?

    Skate now…little horse with HUGE HEART. The little Canuck That COULD

    This is Northern Dancer Time my fellow Proud Canuck.

    NDP = time to get your heads and come to the table. Your ideology isn’t much different and Liberals are poised to take more seats in Ontario – REGARDLESS.

    Think. Feel…and ACT NOW strategically. Vote NDP ideals WITH your LIBERAL SUPPORT on May 2nd – and we ALL WIN

    Jumpin Jack peaked too early.

    …and – God Bless Northern Dancer and OH CANADA forever!

  10. Doris Lane says:

    Willem excellent letter. WE must be very careful what we are voting for.
    Democracy is too precious to take lightly. think before you vote and think of what you want for Canada

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