WHEN IT COMES to the Oct. 21 election, are you expecting different outcomes than what you have experienced with every other federal election? It’s a serious question but let me ask the all important companion question: are you voting the same as you have in every other federal election?
If you answered yes to both of the above, is it possible that you and not politicians, are the problem? After all, we know the definition of insanity includes the implicit understanding that should you continue to do exactly the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result, you are – and I say this as gently as possible – but you are crazy.
Unfortunately, over the years this seems to be exactly what we do. We swap brand names by continuing the practice of going back and forth between the two major parties.
At some point, the majority of voters decide they’re fed up with the governing party. They replace them with the party they were ticked-off with before being annoyed with this current government. It is a repetitive practice that always results in the same outcome and pretty much dates back to confederation. And, yes, it is crazy and, yes, despite that we continue to complain about the outcomes and about those who we elect to govern us.
So what do we do? First, we can continue to vote as we always have. That’s what both the Conservative and Liberal parties are counting on. It’s what you’ve been doing and the accepted risk for either party is some quiet time alone in the corner that is otherwise known as the Opposition.
You’re not government but still in government and within 4 to 8 years you are pretty much guaranteed the process will once again be reversed and you’ll be moving across the floor to the governing side of the sandbox.
This is how it has worked and given the electorate’ penchant for performing the necessary but crazy role of the repetitively insane voter, is how it will work for decades to come.
I can already hear the faint voices from other parties such as the NDP and Greens, correctly claiming there are alternatives to this insanity. But for the most part we ignore their idealism and fresh ideas because…well because we’ve been trained and/or frightened into ignoring them.
Suppose, for just a moment though, that half the electorate decided that repeating the same mistake was no longer acceptable. Realizing that crazy was no longer your thing and a new outcome was necessary; you changed your voting pattern and voted either NDP or Green.
Since we like labels, I’ll call this band of determined and feisty rebels the Fifty Percenters and if they voted for either one of those two parties (your choice), we’d likely end up with a new minority government. And being a minority, this government of idealists would be moderated or tempered somewhat by the realities of needing to build consensus on important issues.
Minorities can work, and you need look no further than the early Harper government. During those heady days when he was forced to play nice and work cooperatively with all sides of the House, we didn’t get what eventually became his trademark draconian omnibus bills.
And to be quite frank, I don’t think we need that kind of centralized power anymore. Instead, I think Canada desperately needs to see some idealists have a go at reacquainting us with certain values we may have once traded for quick fixes and short-term gains.
Bill McQuarrie is a former magazine publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.