Opinion: Blemishes all around as parties head into fall election

Like back-to-school ads in August, this fall’s federal election approaches with a certain sense of inevitability.

It comes in the middle of one of the most politically divisive times in recent history. Between rising populism on all sides, this week’s flavour of candy throwing promises, and a general unwillingness to engage in political dialogue without devolving into fecal-flinging, voters can have a difficult time telling up from down let alone far left from far right.

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In the coming months, I’m going to be focusing on the election as it unfolds, starting with a snapshot of the current political landscape.

In the wake of broken electoral reform promises, the ridiculous purchase of a pipeline and the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the Liberal party limps into the election with a “relatively” benign record. Their sins include overspending, laughable cultural faux-pas and doing nothing until the problem becomes too large to ignore, then doing too little, too late.

In the past four years, strong leadership and proactive measures could have resolved the B.C.-Alberta pipeline tiff, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the legalization of cannabis quickly and effectively. What we got was anything but.

Across the aisle, the Conservatives have shown us a very different face than Canadians had come to expect from the party of John Cummins. When Stephen Harper didn’t show up to a parade, it was generally chalked up to his unapproachability. With Jason Kenney and Doug Ford carrying the flag up north and Trump-style conservatives raising torches down south, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has to fight not to be seen as a white supremacist, a mere oil sands cheerleader or whatever it means to be called “far-right” in this day and age. It’s like watching a man tightrope walk across a razor’s edge and I’m not sure he does himself too many favours.

I honestly wish I had more to say about the NDP. I want to like Jagmeet Singh, but I just haven’t heard enough about him and that tells me more than I need to know. Predictably, the NDP platform includes more spending than seems practical. Also predictably, this spending does not have a complete timeline or cost and gets its name, “A New Deal for People,” from U.S. Rep Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” (which itself borrows from FDR).

This leaves Elizabeth May’s Green Party. In my eyes, their great flaw is their “spray-and-pray” approach to riding selection. To paraphrase one of my smartest friends, they should pick the ridings they know they can be competitive in and focus their resources there rather than on low percentage ridings. With record breaking global temperatures, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Greens upstage the NDP and become a major player in what is shaping up to be a minority government. I wonder where I’ve heard this song before?

Next month, as candidates introduce themselves and their platforms, I’ll be putting my spin on a local perspective of election coverage.

Community advocate Nicholas Wong ran as an independent candidate in Delta South in the 2017 provincial election. He finished second with more than 6,400 votes. He can be reached at mrnicholaswong@gmail.com.

 

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