In my voting lifetime (40 years and counting ...) I don’t recall ever being put in a situation similar to that in which I now find myself. As I have never been particularly faithful to any party, I have always had the option to vote for the candidate and/or party that I felt was the best option for Canada at that point in time. But I always had a choice. I don’t now – at least not any palatable choice. For the first time in my experience, I would be voting for the least objectionable option.
The Conservatives under Stephen Harper will never get my vote. I tried to keep an open mind when they won a minority last time, but after 2 years of their antics on the Hill, I now not only despise the man personally, but his band of incompetent sycophants make my skin crawl. This is a party whose only purpose has become to embarrass and belittle their opponents in the hope that the electorate will end up hating the Opposition more than they hate the Conservatives. Now that’s something to vote for!
Then there’s the Liberal Party, a party which allowed itself to be self-consumed and marginalized by the sponsorship scandal (relatively minor by most political scandal measures), but probably more accurately, as a result of the Chretien-Martin feud among senior party ranks. Then the Liberals blew the one opportunity they had to resurrect themselves as a political force by electing Stéphane Dion as leader. When the best any of the political pundits could offer at the time he was elected was to comment on his honesty and integrity, you just knew he wouldn’t do well in Stephen Harper’s gutter. And now, with their continuing abstentions and gamesmanship making a mockery of the concept of opposition, I am beginning to question their ability to govern even if they were elected in a minority situation. Perhaps if they actually had the balls to stand on their principles and put up a fight I might change my mind, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
The NDP have made an art out of being in opposition. Their entire shtick has, for some years now, been to sit on the sidelines and take potshots at whoever forms the government of the day. They have always had the luxury of never having to be in charge, so they know not what it means to compromise, to take a chance, and to accept responsibility for their decisions, whether good or bad. They simply wait in the wings, and then, like auditors, come in after the battle and bayonet the wounded. They have made themselves largely irrelevant, and will have to do a total refresh of their party before they’ll attract any serious attention from me. That’s not to say they couldn’t, as they have some strong members, but Jack would have to go for sure, along with many of his colleagues who seem to be stuck in some sort of socialist time warp.
I might consider the Greens if I knew what they stood for, but Elizabeth May distancing herself from Paul Watson and The Sea Shepherd (which any rational, thinking person did many years ago) does not constitute a platform in my humble opinion. I’ll accept that it’s at least partly my responsibility to find this stuff out, but until the Greens start making some noise and getting some traction on the other big issues of the day besides the environment, then I can’t see them getting my vote.
So I’m stuck with three choices, none of which is acceptable: don’t vote; spoil the ballot; or vote for the party I dislike least. What a hell of a way to run a railroad.