For a sophisticated city like Toronto, it is embarrassing to see the leading candidates passing random lines drawn on a map for transit plans. These so-called plans lack research, engineering cost and ridership estimates, and transit revenue forecasts. At best, one could call these plans the transit dreams of mayoral hopefuls. However, given the underestimated costs and overestimated benefits of these proposals, it is likely that the politicians' dream would become taxpayers' nightmare.
Now here comes my confession: I don't know how to vote. In any of these elections. It's embarrassing because I really love politics. I talk about it all the time. I mean, I work at Samara, an organization that works to strengthen political participation in Canada. I literally (and I mean literally in the actual literal sense) spend my whole day working on civic engagement. How could this happen to me?
In this strongly patriarchal culture, married women are seen as belonging to their husbands' families. So with no husband, a wife can lose her status, security, and self; she becomes persona non grata. When a woman in a traditional Hindu family becomes a widow, through no doing of her own, she often falls from grace forever.
The federal Conservatives are finally backing off on some of the measures in their proposed so-called "Fair Elections Act" (Bill C-23). Minister for Democratic Reform Poilievre is trying to claim he has listened with an open mind, but this is yet another misleading spin statement from him about the bill. The truth is much more that playing games with democratic voting issues was hurting the Conservatives with their soft supporters, and with swing voters, and they realized they would only recover by compromising.
1,000,000 people in Quebec don't file their taxes every year. If each of those people owe taxes of... I don't know... let's say $624 each (an extremely low estimate given that the average amount of taxes paid by a Quebecer is around $10,000), then I'd say an investment of $600k in "FILE YOUR TAXES" billboards, print and TV ads might have helped us to avoid this huge debt hole.
A citizen-based view of elections takes the view that voter participation independent of party is an important democratic goal in itself. That our democracy is healthier and stronger if more citizens exercised their right to vote habitually. Only one player in the electoral process has this interest at its core, and that is the independent, non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer.
There's something about Justin Trudeau with his sideways smiles, V-necks and ladies' night that reminds me of smarmy men from my past. That connection is hard to break, even though as a friend recently pointed out, he's probably the politician who best reflects my views. As with our personal relationships, we are often blind to our favourite politicians' faults. We defend them when others bring up their shortcomings -- "You don't know the real Barack!" -- rather than accept the facts. That's why it stung so much when I recently read a piece in the Globe and Mail titled "From messiah to lame duck: How Barack Obama fell to earth."
How do you have an election in a country with a literacy rate of 37%? And why would someone who lives in a mud hut without running water or electricity take the time and effort to vote for someone who in all likelihood will have little to no effect on his or her life? But when the time finally came, election day in Mali was fantastic.
Liberals now have a clear choice between two distinct leadership options. One is a comfortable, business-as-usual approach. The second approach, personified by Joyce Murray, is to give Canadians a substantive vision for Canada as a modern, prosperous and healthy nation with a sustainable economy and environment.
The presence of 15,000 journalists in Tampa and Charlotte for the conventions was ridiculous but even wackier is the size of "Nation PR." Likely bigger than Newark or its governor, this is an industry of propagandists, bloggers, twitterers, scandal-mongers, pundits, spin doctors, pollsters, journalist-partisans who pen biased op-eds and columns, campaign operatives and dewy-eyed "Monicas" who will do anything for the boss. Nation PR never sleeps and now the fun, for the rest of us, begins as they launch their saturation bombing campaign on US voters to capture victory in November.