Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Liberals may be our best hope.

As everyone in Canada knows by now, we vote on Tuesday. Now, ordinarily I'm not arrogant enough to "tell" people how they ought to vote, at least in any specific terms. I'm also the last person who would agree with any kind of strategic voting; ideally I shouldn't have to do that. The problem is that these are far from ideal times. There is simply too much at stake in this election for people to be silent. So for that reason, I'm reluctantly supporting the Liberal party, and I strongly ask that you all do the same. It's not because I'm a particularly big fan of them, but because they have the best chance of stopping Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.

Despite what the Conservative candidates want us to believe, this election has not already been decided, and the non-Tory candidates are certainly not irrelevant. I find it odd that their slogan is to Stand Up for Canada, because all of the things that myself and most people love about this country are the ones that Stephen Harper has wanted to take apart from day one.

I'm standing up for our ability to sustain ourselves, and have our own voice in the world, rather than just doing every little thing that the White House does. I'm standing up for the right of all of us to have good health care, rather than having to choose between having a place to live and getting a heart transplant. I'm standing up the right of our youngsters to have a good start in life, and our older population to retire with peace and dignity. I'm standing up for the right of women to have equal pay to men, and the ability to control their own destiny and bodies. I'm standing up for the right of gays and lesbians to be with the people they love, to the full extent that straight people are automatically entitled to. Most importantly, I'm standing up for our right to speak out without being persecuted, and to disagree with the government without being vilified and attacked. I'm standing up for Canadians of all faiths to be served by the government, not just whichever xenophobic, homophobic, and self-righteous fanatics are on the Prime Minister's speed dial this month. I say we should stand up for our right to be free, to live our lives well, and maybe even to exist at all.

Heck, if you really need proof that Harper and the Tories don't care about the public, consider this: he never released a platform of his own ideas, until earlier this week, a week before the vote, and after the debates and advance polls were done. In other words, he tried for as long as possible to make sure that he could pull a fast one on all of us, and not have to answer for it. And believe me, if you even dare to question the Conservative party, you will be laughed and yelled at by the people representing our so-called down to earth, rightful governing party.

I want to be able to vote for the party that I really support, but the unfortunate thing about the party system in this country is that everything left of the Tories is fragmented four ways. That's the very reason why Harper is in the lead, despite two-thirds of this country not supporting him at all. Since the other parties aren't willing to work together, then we have no choice but to vote for whichever party is immediately behind the Conservatives in the polls. For better or worse, that's the Liberals.

In the last election, Stephen Harper said that when he was through with Canada, we wouldn't recognize it. I agree with him. The Canada that I grew up knowing, the one that I suspect the majority of our soldiers are trying to protect, and that most immigrants want to live in, is one of peace, leadership, and acceptance. That is a Canada that has been vanishing at a frightening rate, in the last two years. It's getting to the point where, as a secular, pro-gay rights, pro-choice, anti-establishment activist, am almost afraid to live here now. So I have to really make an effort to remember that dictatorships in the past have always fallen, even if it's taken decades. I just hope that along the way, not too many people like me are put in prison. Simply put, I want my home back. Enough said.

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