Cooperation, Strategic Voting, and Wishy-Washy Politics
I am a Liberal for a reason.
I am a small business person (running a real-estate company worth some $2.1 million and a liquor store, in addition to other stuff I do on the side). This is coupled with a fundamental belief of mine, that I wrote on almost two years ago, about the amazing quality of an individual to rise above their condition and against barriers. I want a well regulated, fair economy that is fundamentally free market with the rougher edges smoothed over. I want support for the poor, care for the homeless, public healthcare, a tie between healthcare/crime/addictions, and a level of taxation to make it all happen. Taxes, for me, is an act of community building and a membership fee to take part in Canadian society.
Another issue is the fundamental viewpoint on the sharing of power. Fundamentally, there is a process, brought on by a thousand years of parliament, on the point of sharing power with other people in society, be they the Loyal Opposition, the guy on the street, or the largest companies. This requires active listening, working with others, and the creation of long-standing, vision-based politics that have a focus on the long term prosperity of Canada rather than short term gains. Almost a year ago I wrote about this Laurier-styled outlook in my blogpost “The Sunny Way.”
This is why I look at the divisive class-based politics of the NDP and scratch my head. And why I look at the Conservatives and see something that is fundamentally against my values, both in terms of the sharing of power and my views on a stable, fair economy. This also forgets the level to which message control and leader-domination of their parties have taken root in both of those two parties. I come from the principled and balanced position of a guy who wants to succeed, have others succeed, and utilize our common successes to create a better, stronger Canada.
So when I look at those wishing to see cooperation foisted on the federal scene I have to take a step back and reconcile what I believe and what’s being talked about. I share very little with the Conservatives, and even less so with the NDP. I have principles that preclude me from even considering mergers or electoral cooperation. And so, too, do many of the supporters of the Liberals.
It’s against any principles aside from ousting one man from power. And that is fundamentally a silly idea. It’s rarely one man who is running the government, and Harper will eventually fade away as a focal point for people’s anger. So to strike at a person who will not be there for the long term, and not with principles, (a) doesn’t get anyone anywhere and (b) sabotages long term growth for those involved outside of the Conservatives. A public told that strategic voting is okay will strategically vote — and gladly — and sometimes against those who have been telling them to vote strategically for years. It’s an unloyal base that substantially harms any cobbling together of an effective coalition to successfully organize in Canada.
Additionally, there is a problem of wishy-washy politics. Those that have politicians that are too afraid to say something because they might offend the political sensibilities of either the electorate or their party. Cooperation, merger, and wishy-washy politics will make this simply worse. It removes the conviction to stand up for values and for policies, and replaces it all with the raging anti-Harperism that, as I’ve discussed earlier in another blog post, has significant logical and organizing problems.
At the end of the day, the goal of removing just one man doesn’t replace him with anything: just a valueless, aimless, and incapable group of people who can’t agree on what to do next. There has to be a group of people, with values, hardwork, and policies. And that vision ought to be Liberal.
Vincent St. Pierre is a fifth generation Albertan and Calgarian blogger. (Read more.)