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I give you promises, promises

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

As the IWT issue heats up in the County, I decided to move those disturbing thoughts to my next column. Because, as you may know, there’s a federal election on!

I know you turn to me for thoughtful insight on major issues, and I guarantee you, by the end of this article, you will be as confused as me.
I’ve been covering elections, and eyeballing politics, since I was a cub reporter. I have come to one conclusion – campaigning runs on three major principles: 1. Promise anything; 2. Hope the the public has had a massive group lobotomy within the last four years; and 3. Facts do not exist.

I was alarmed by a report on MY-FM radio in Napanee that “three-quarters of the people polled have decided who to vote for.” Really? How?! It’s a ball of confusion out there. I’d have better luck betting on a racehorse because of his whinny!

I listened to the excellent three-party debate on CountyFM three times, as our candidates stumbled over each other to promise things they have no control over. It seems NDPer Cassidy was the only one to to quote set party policy, while the other two argued about poor performances of existing and previous governments. This is not an endorsement, because the picture is way bigger than this.
Everyone is making promises, promises, as the song goes. Like the pointed questions fielded expertly by Lynn Pickering, I too have a lot of questions.
I have no allegiance to any party, so from here I will attack everyone in my range. And you will attack in return.

On IWTs in the County, and I bring this up only to show how politics works: All three suddenly realized this was a Hot Button issue here, and are dancing all over the place to grab the anti-wind on the South Shore vote.
In a provincial election years ago, when Leona Dombrowski was dumped from power on this issue, the campaigning NDPer announced her party would eliminate nuclear power in Ontario in four years. This was apparently a message beamed through her tinfoil hat, because nuclear was providing 75% on Ontario’s power at the time.

Now Cassidy seems to be hauling back on the reins, and showing – as they all do – a kinder, gentler approach to destroying Ontario. As if any of them can get Wynne’s attention any more than the hundreds of us – thousands across the province – who have been fighting for years without help.

To Jenkins: Concerned? Where have the federal Tories been for the last 10 years? We’ve not had a helpful word from Environment Canada and Health Canada. Not a peep. All of a sudden New Guy Jody is going to tell Harper what to do? Check your calendar. Harper tells people what to say, and not the other way around. I suggest you invest in some duct tape, not a megaphone.

Ellis? Hard to say. I seriously think our tiny dot of land in Canada will receive no consideration at the national level, so promising to “use your voice” if they form the government is simply a joke.

Next, there’s the issue about facts. This sparring match would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic. Jody says they increased Health Care funding to the province. The other two say it went from 30% to 14% in transfers. If there was money, where did it go? New furniture for the Minister of Health’s office?
Jody says the economy is growing under Harper, but all evidence shows we are in a recession, and deeply in debt. I picture a big bowl of ‘facts’ in the CountyFM studio, and everybody draws the facts they want.
To put it simply, and factually: Facts no longer exist. Only vague information from questionable sources, spun into a fabric that suits the ‘Fact-Wearer’.
Much of the rest is the same Election Smoke I’ve inhaled for years. Jobs? Yeah, we want them. Economy? Yeah give me one of those too. Infrastructure? Health Care? Totally on top of that.

My gut feeling? Not to influence you, but to add to the confusion.
I could not cast a vote for Harper, even if Jody were St. Peter. Not his fault. Good guy, young, energetic, smart … perfect MP material. But this is the least transparent government I’ve seen in my lifetime. Voices mean nothing to Harper, he runs his own game. And I’ve watched his gift for cutting programs just enough so no-one screams, but we still suffer a slow death by a hundred cuts.
This leaves the other two. Both are promising to spend their way out of an economic crisis. Oddly enough, I’ve changed my opinion on this. When Paul Martin balanced the budget, we all cheered. But costs were downloaded to the province, who sent the bill to us. I didn’t cheer anymore.
We need to spend more money on our own domestic rebuilding, and less on foreign war (I suggest maintaining the military, but stepping back into our traditional peacekeeping role). We outreach to the world, in typical Canadian grace, but we also have homeless, unemployed, a shrinking labour market, a crumbling infrastructure, and a huge discrepancy between the 1% who hold the wealth, and the working class who can lose their jobs for the sake of shareholder profits.

We have a growing list of concerns that are mostly caused by government activity and inactivity. And some very bad marriages with corporations and lobby groups.
The County survives largely through the efforts of volunteers and donations – local people who now provide the manpower and the finances to maintain a functional social community. This was once the government’s job, and we were proud of it. Here and around the world.
All of our roles have changed in the last 20 years and, in many ways, our feds and province have forgotten how to govern. They are entities unto themselves, and have problems of their own. We become largely spectators; children in the next room while the adults deal with important stuff.
We need to change direction. All of our decisions are made by other people. I know how we got here, but how do we get out?

I have no doubt that any of our three local candidates – Ellis, Jenkins and Cassidy – are well-equipped for the job, and the one we choose will serve us well. This gives me a sense of relief.
I hope each of them realize that We The People want back in the game as well. You’re listening now. If you get the job, you’d better be prepared to listen hard.

NOTE: Comment sections are now closed for election day on all Federal Elections posts

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell

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  1. Emily says:

    And who would have ever thought it would be effective?

  2. Chris Keen says:

    Who would ever have thought that in Canada in 2015 we would see a Prime Minister stoking racial tensions for xenophobic votes?

  3. Debbie says:

    Excellent Steve!! None of them are going to save us in the short term but I am tired of being buried in the sand by the Conservatives. It is a shame how we have gone from peacekeeping to all out war. What were they thinking? I have worked as a civilian in DND for 3 decades and my partner did peacekeeping during the late seventies. The decisions made by our Dear Leader have been appalling. I am not happy with our part in this constant blood bath. This constant turmoil is based on three elements, oil, greed and religion. You are also spot on with how things are run in this county with the generosity of people with volunteering and donations. We need good paying jobs and we need good effective, efficient government and we need it now!

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