No excuse for apathy -

No excuse for apathy


From Susan Delacourt’s piece on voter alienation in today’s Star, Angus Reid’s Jaideep Mukerji gets it exactly right:

A full 78 per cent of respondents to this newest survey believe politicians are less honest today and 62 per cent said they believed Canadian democracy was in crisis. More than half of the respondents — 52 per cent — said none of the political parties had satisfactory positions on issues important to the voters.

Mukerji says the 52 per cent figure is disturbing.

“You can imagine that in a two-party system, like in the United States, that might make sense. But in Canada, there are four national parties, and there’s an extra one in Quebec. It’s not like there’s a lack of choice,” he said.

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No excuse for apathy

  1. My only conclusion from this is that many people expect anything and everything from the government, whether to tuck them into bed at night, to ensure there's food on the table and to ensure there's a roof over our heads. In other words, there's more to Canada than the federal government and people should not be looking to the government to be a solution to all their problems. The nanny state is alive and well.

    Frankly, if a voter cannot find a suitable choice from amongst all the parties, then that's more of a problem with the voter than it is with the system or the politicians.

    • But aren't all the parties promising the moon and the stars?

      I don't think people are desirous of a nanny state. I think they're desirous of politicians who don't act like a bunch of jackasses. From the current batch, 52 per cent think they're going to get more of the same.

      • That's not what it said. It said "none of the political parties had satisfactory positions on issues important to the voters". This has nothing to do with what you're saying. Congrats on your +6 though, which is easy to get if you just trash all the politicians and parties out there. I don't think they're all that bad.

        • "Congrats on your +6 (now +13) though, which is easy to get if you just trash all the politicians and parties out there."

          How is GBS' comment a terashing of parties anymore than your comment – "people expect anything and everything from the government, whether to tuck them into bed at night, to ensure there's food on the table and to ensure there's a roof over our heads" – is a trashing of voters? You extrapolated a conclusion form the article that imputes and maligns voter motivation.

    • Good of you to distrust the distrust that is rampant in the land.

      • It's not a matter of trust, it's a matter of expectations. When you expect all things to come to you, you will be disappointed. If people are really upset about the choices, then they should run for office. I don't wish to denigrate all the people that do so.

    • I have an easier conclusion: Over half the country simply isn't paying attention.

    • Maybe it's the exact opposite. Maybe the voters would wish the politicians to stop spending and stop promising garbage that people don't care about but they have to pay for with their taxes.

  2. There is a definite lack of choice in the parties we have….that's what voters have been saying for some years now!

  3. It would sincerely help if the Party's would attempt to hold themselves to a message. Being pragmatic is one thing, being a political whore is much less appealing.

  4. Canadians desperately need a new grass-roots political party that has no ties to Ottawa's current crop of power brokers. As Tommy Douglas said in his famous "Mouseland" speech, until the mice stop electing cats, things will never get better in Mouseland.

    Here is what Tommy Douglas had to say about the necessity for political change in Canada:

    • Yeah, and they could call it the Reform party.

      • and even then they couldn't achieve power until the PC operatives left to come on board after the Mulroney meltdown.

      • Yeah, and they could call it the Reform party.

        …and then they could spend the next 15 years being vilified by the media in eastern Canada. What fun that was. Can't wait to start that whole process over again. And then of course there's the old Mulroney whores. One can still hear the anguished cries of old guard Red Tories as they continue to sulk over how their beloved party was first bled dry, then "hijacked" by Reform. They still can't get over the audacity of those 'toopid redneck Reformers who dared to break away from the traditional progressive middle ground of Canadian politics and start their own movement. It will haunt them to their graves.

        But what do you expect? Many of the Reds thought even Mulroney was too right wing. All this just reminds me that as bad as Harper sometimes is, and petty and cynical and underhanded and free spending and all the rest, at least we aren't back in the 1980s, where we essentially had the choice between three left-wing parties. Harper may be a lot of unpleasant things, but he's not a progressive. I hold my nose and continue to support him. The enemy of my enemies is my friend.

  5. My other theory is that the media is somewhat responsible. Any party that goes out on a limb with a policy that is not sanctioned by the majority of our lethargic media is crucified by the press. This discourages parties from proposing new ideas.
    By I think this likely plays just a small part.

    I find it bizarre that people claim that 4 national parties and one regional party is not enough federal parties.

    • There is a claim to made that it's too many for the lack of originality it produces.

      • Yes, I think there is such a claim. I think that the NDP and Libs have very little in difference these days, which is why the Libs have been overtaken by the NDP for the first time in federal politics ever. Now that the Liberals are anti-tax-cut, anti-energy, anti-business, what do we need them for? If people wanted an NDP platform, they might as well vote NDP. I have no idea why those two parties will not merge. The BQ stands for nothing really. And the Greens are just a one-issue party. Even still, there are lots of other parties. So I agree, perhaps we have too many parties.

    • Except that's not exactly what they're saying. They're saying none of the 4 parties represent what they want… Not that there needs to be more than 4. The liberals, ndp, and greens could be replaced by one party without really reducing diversity much, they all promise more or less the same crap anyways. On the other hand if you are looking for a small c conservative platform and feel the Conservatives aren't it after their recent track record or perhaps looking for fiscal responsibility with less of an evangelical social-conservative feel, there's kindof a void.

      • I suppose. But all political parties will migrate to a place where they are electable, for obvious reasons. So if people complain that they can't find a party to match their views, what they really mean is that their views are not shared by enough other people. We can't all have what we want. That's what democracy is for. So you look for the party that matches your views best. To expect that there will be a party that mirrors your own opinions, that's asking too much.

        • When over 50% responded that way though, it sounds like the parties are not migrating to accomodate the views of a large portion of the population. Perhaps that 50% is just too spread out for them to fall under a fictitious party's tent, or perhaps the parties are just all doing a really bad job at playing the game but someone's gotta win.

  6. Actually, the very problem is that there is too much choice. The next…who knows how many years will divide this country as we've never dreamed possible.

  7. Why would any Canadian in their left mind vote NDP?!…

    A party who has forced MEDICARE on every CDN?, only people who can pay out of their own pockets wile bleeding to death in a ditch should be able to get medical treatment or too bad!…

    A party whose founder Tommy Douglas was voted the GREATEST CANADIAN in the history of our country!, who does he think he is?!…

    A party who cares about the people?!?!, forget the people!, what about the oil companies, banks & big corporations?!, their only making millions in profits!, crap I'm out of bread & water again…

    A leader who thinks the credit card companies are charging us to much interest?!, who cares if Canadians are drowning themselves in dept!, keep the government out of the billionaires business!…

    I mean geeze baaa! The other parties & media etc keep telling me not to vote NDP baaa! they say the SKY WILL FALL! baaa! you'd be crazy baaa! to think for yourself! baaa! you know you can TRUST what baaa! the other parties tell you to FEAR baaa!.


    • How much do you get paid to write this?

      • Nobody could possibly be paying him to write such incoherent nonsense. Not even the NDP pays for such crap.

    • Could you at least change the order of the paragraphs before clicking SUBMIT?

  8. certainly if you're looking for anything other than a mild right wing bent in the parties you'll be disappointed. Even the "socialist" party's platform is limited to returning taxation to Paul Martin levels, subsidizing gas heating, and capping credit card interest.

    • Unless, of course, harper pulls off a majority and puts the country on thetrain to crazytown, which is not impossible. But even that would show that such a platform would not have been electable by the public.

    • So the NDP is mildy right wing? You're mildly insane.

  9. There's a lot of parties, but so what? On the biggest issues they all have the same position because those issues are taboo.

    Which party is anti-abortion? None of them. We have one that's slightly less pro-abortion then the others. For the rather large group of people who are anti-abortion, what party represents them? None of them.

    Which party is for euthenasia? Again, none of them.

    You can go down the list like this and discover that on a wide range of issues, the parties we have are exactly the same and anybody not in line with that position isn't represented at all. So it's entirely easy to see how 52% would feel that no party represents them, because they don't care about the corporate tax rate (which is what this election seems to be about).

    • We can't even find a politician with balls enough to call BS on the Canada Health Act – a Trudeau-era relic that, for some reason, has become the most sacred of sacred cows. Like we never had medicare before 1984 and the Canada Health Act.