Saturday, June 20, 2015

Why my strong reaction against the Liberals for voting for bill C-51?

I've had people comment on my strong views against the Liberals for voting for Bill C-51.

It was not a surprise that the Liberals supported Harper's alleged "Anti-terrorism" bill, given the Liberals had multiple times in the past proposed similarly flawed Lawful Access legislation.  The agencies that have been granted additional powers by C-51 are not new, and this only represents an update from what I consider to be mistakes of the past.

The Liberal response to Bill C-51 only served as a reminder of things I have not liked about the Liberal party for a long time. 
  • They fall prey to the "something must be done, this is something, so it must be done" type of politics. They don't want to be seen as soft on [bad behavior flavor of the month], so push forward policies such as lopsided "lawful access" where citizens outside of agencies get additional scrutiny, but not citizens within government agencies.
  • They get caught by the "you are either with us, or with the [bad behavior]ists" rhetoric, whether in government or opposition, which feeds into the "this is something" problem.  They don't come out with what I consider to be reasoned policies, just policies which appear at first glance to be tough on [bad behavior].
  • Since I became politically involved in the 1990's, Liberal election campaigns have been based on fear: vote Liberal or [some "scary" opponent] might win (under "first past the post" generated vote-splitting of course). This federal election the "scary" opponent will be Harper, but in BC it is the NDP (The BC Liberals are a coalition of what other Canadians might call Liberals and Progressive Conservatives), in Quebec it is the "separatists", and so-on.  This frees up the Liberals to not have rational policies, as long as their policies appear slightly different than the "scary" opponent.    While the Liberals will claim yet again this federal election that it is the Harper Conservatives that are the party of fear, it has been the Liberals that have been the party of fear since long before the Reform/Alliance/Harper party even existed. It is time Canadians voted for something, not against something -- the status-quo means we never get good government, just theoretically (with little evidence) less bad government.

I mistakenly held my nose and voted for the Liberal nominated candidate in my riding in some recent elections, and the C-51 vote reminded me why I should not do that as it only weakens what I believe it is to be Canadian.

I'm not suggesting I believe the NDP is a great party, or that I am certain they would make a good federal Government.  I never even considered voting for them before this election. What I am saying is that voting Liberal yet again because you did in the past isn't going to get you something different. The federal Liberal party has been in decline in recent decades, and it is false to suggest that its new post-election caucus or leader would be "more tested" than an NDP post-election caucus and leader.   It is people who make up political parties, not theoretical place holders. The exact membership of the caucus is what matters, not some distant memory of a previous caucus that doesn't apply to the current situation.

I'm also not suggesting people vote for Harper's party.  If C-51 wasn't a deal breaker for you and your choice is between the Conservatives and the Liberals (as it has traditionally been for many Canadians), I would suggest you take a close look at your Conservative candidate.  The conservative movement in Canada has gone through some radical changes in recent decades.  While I believe the Harper conservatives have major flaws that make them not worthy of the conservative name, change is obviously possible as it has already happened. Take a close look at your local candidate and see if they are someone who would be better described as a Progressive Conservative than a Harper conservative. That person as an MP might become part of the group that will fix the Conservative party from within. There is a growing list of cabinet ministers that won't be running in this election, and this may allow for positive change -- more change than having a Liberal keeping a House of Commons seat warm could.

If the Conservative party moved closer to the center from the right, coupled with the federal NDP already moving so close to the center from the left, it really leaves no room for the Liberals under those traditional left-right policy lines.  The Greens still offer something different that doesn't always fit on that spectrum, but the Liberals don't offer anything unique or interesting.

Liberals do continue to offer fear and vote splitting....

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