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The Devil and the Deep Red/Blue Sea

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

A New Year is upon us and, if human nature is still the guiding factor, we will repeat all of the mistakes we have made in the past, and then make up excuses for why we are not getting any smarter with age.
If there’s a God in Heaven, I hope the debt-building disasters and blunders of the McGuinty/Wynne government will catch up to them this year, and force an election. So you can expect that the people who have done nothing all year are gearing up to win your hearts and minds, hoping you will muster all of your intelligence to scrawl an ‘X’ into the right box.

I would like to beat all of the Metro papers to the punch, with a few observations on our glorious electoral system. And you don’t have to listen to me – everyone I know is asking the same question: “What choice do we have?”
What choice indeed. We’ve been through this cycle for a long time: The Big Blue Machine replaced by the Big Red Machine, surprisingly replaced by Big Orange, followed by Big Blue, then Red. Different colours, same messed up way of doing things.

As you know, I have lost faith in the system that is so well-schooled, so media-driven, so savvy, that political parties market themselves like perfume and chocolate bars. “MMmmm, wouldn’t you like to have us?! Your life would be so much better if you buy us!”
But it’s more like the Twix candy bar commercials: “Not coated with chocolate! Smothered! Completely different process.”

But it’s not. Which is why we float around, trying to find a party that remembers its main goal is to serve the people. Or at least create an environment in which people can be comfortable, and prosper.
It shouldn’t be that hard, but Politics is a game unto itself, and the players only talk to themselves. This is why the provincial NDP party announced it is trying to lose its socialist roots, so it can play to the just-left-of-centre crowd. This why the Conservatives have trouble keeping control of the far-right people who demand less government, more individual rights, and cheaper beer.

As for the Liberals: Since the days of Louis St.-Laurent, the words ‘Liberal’ and ‘arrogance’ have been bonded together. They run their own show and, the longer they stay in power, the less they care about us.
A friend of mine once said: “My father told me Ontario was meant to be Liberal, but every once in a while we need to boot them out so they can learn humility.” I can’t agree more.
I suspect Ms. Wynne will suffer the fate of Kim Campbell: Crucified for crimes committed by her predecessor.
But still, there’s one nagging problem. Ah, politics again. The PC party, in its desperate desire to not get any Bad Press, found Tim Hudak, who is so wishy-washy, he couldn’t get Press if he set himself on fire and jumped from the tower in Queen’s Park holding an armload of puppies and orphans.
I have never seen an opposition party so silent, facing a government that has removed its people from the decision-making process, bungled virtually every project it launched, cost billions upon billions of dollars on ill-conceived plans, and gutted the municipal coffers in every region across the province, except maybe for Toronto. Which has problems of its own.

Where do we turn? I hesitate to say: “Don’t vote,” because there are so many people who believe the system might eventually work, if we’re lucky. Start a new party? Ask the Green Party about that. It takes years to build a proper plan, especially when Ontarians can only see Red and Blue.
To me, here’s the issue facing us all: Governments of every kind, including our own local government, believe – and would have us believe – that we need to pay more because the costs of the services we receive is increasing.
This is true, to a certain extent, but large amounts of money are being wasted in bad deals with corporations, ridiculous pension funds, large bonuses to people who already make large annual incomes, and an adoration for the Gravy Train that everyone in the clique feels they certainly deserve.

Will it end? Hell, no! We’re paying for decisions made in the ‘fat times’ in Ontaree-aree-areeo. Except we’re now in ‘lean times’. And the only ones still spending big bucks? The governments.
Job creation? Yes, if you join the government forces. Looks good on paper. Pretty soon the civil service will outnumber those of us who actually pay the bill by running businesses.

Bike Shop Katy, who has brilliant insight into the ‘Nether World’ of government, told me: “The government needs to learn what we have learned. We don’t shop at The Gap, we shop at the Thrift Shops and the Dollar Stores. That’s how we survive. We read the flyers for sales, and we spend as little as we can. And things we really want? We only buy them if we need them, and only if we can afford them.”
Wow! That would be a terrific party platform for our time. Sadly, people like us don’t get to join the game. In fact, all of Rural Ontario, and the forgotten North, form a giant “Who cares?” to the people who crunch the numbers, check the polls and gear up the ‘promos’.
For us lowly County folk, we will remain – despite politicians wearing red-ringed rubber boots and chewing on a wheat straw – the demented child in the attic Ontario doesn’t like to talk about.

Wait for the Tory “Time For A Change” campaign coming up soon in your neighbourhood. It worked so well last time, they have hired a 200-pound parrot to drive the illusion home.
Maybe 2014 is the time for us to shake things up. The long-forgotten, useless voting power of the County could be National News, if we could choose on the ballot: “We’ve given up on you. The County is applying for Province status.”

It’s not a crazy thought. Hey, Ontario signed a deadly wind turbine deal with Samsung on the plane on the way back from Korea, and set us a couple of billion more in debt. You don’t think they’d be willing to sign a deal with the ‘New Province of the County’ for the things we actually need, like LCBOs and Hydro? And that’s about it.
The rest is mostly ridiculous laws, and taxation to pay the multitude of people who enforce the ridiculous laws. Without that, I think we’d be money ahead.
Does anyone know how we can get that on the Ballot? Then we can go back to loving and living in the County, the way God meant it to be.

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElseSteve Campbell


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  1. Al Reimers says:

    About being “in-between”

    Dear Steve,

    I appreciate your concerns about the current political scene, because I studied political science and public administration before God led me to theology.

    Interestingly, it was my major professor who helped to prepare me for the switch. In one of his lectures he noted that, in similar bureaucracies, usually the one that is more effective is the one that depends on friendships between staff people who know and trust each other.

    This remark helped me to realize that the key to good government was not so much in changing systems as in changing the people who work in them; and the most effective people-changer I knew was Jesus of Nazareth, so I headed for seminary to learn more about him.

    Sixty-five years later I still see him changing people from self-centeredness to concern for the welfare of others. Sometimes the transformation happens quickly; more often it is a gradual process.

    A poet wrote, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Give thanks for all the quiet Christians whose cross-department friendships keep the wheels of government turning; and pray that our political leaders will look to Jesus for inspiration, wisdom and courage.

    Al Reimers

  2. jp says:

    What would it cost to run Steve’s columns in the Globe and Mail?

  3. Marnie says:

    You’re right,Mark. It is almost impossible to buy Canadian no matter how good our intentions. We don’t seem capable of manufacturing much of anything these days and I don’t see a reversal of this trend in the near future.

  4. judy kennedy says:

    We must seek every opportunity–I know it’s difficult, but giving up? We have let our manufacturing sector go through neglect and that hugely misnamed monster, “Free Trade”.
    I live in hope.

  5. Mark says:

    Judy, this is a different Mark than who you first responded to. It is very difficult to buy Canadian when we now manufacture very,very little. With the recent severe winter you cannot find a Canadian made shovel or Ice chopper! Imagine that! Canadians can’t even manufacture snow shovels. Next to impossible to buy a Canadian piece of clothing. Where have you been? I like your theory but trying to put it in practice is futile.

  6. judy kennedy says:

    We all need to be aware of where our dollars go. Buy Canadian, or at least North American as much as possible. Our economy depends on it. We’ve already lost too much to cheaply produced and/or subsidized products from abroad. Remember the canneries? That’s where they went.

  7. Wolf Braun says:

    Entertaining ! Comes up short on a doable solution. 🙂

  8. Marnie says:

    You don’t have to shop the Dollar Stores to buy stuff from Asia. It’s everywhere. Many of the manufacturers of big brand names that used to be Canadian or American-made now outsource to Asian countries. Given that many people today are finding it harder and harder to stretch a Loonie the thrift shops and Dollar Stores fill a real need and make good sense.

  9. judy kennedy says:

    Can’t believe this. You’re advocating shopping at the Dollar Stores, –where most stuff is imported from Asia? That’s progressive and supportive! Here’s a thought–put your money where your mouth is and run for office. What would you call it–the Prince Edward Separatist Party? Get a grip.

  10. Mark! says:

    “Its not a crazy thought.”

    Yes, it is.

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