Elections are approaching our snow-covered country. Well, maybe the East and West coasts are snow free.
The first time I voted I was very naive. It never occurred to me that I could read about party platforms or get to know my candidates. I grew up in a family and church that said being a Christian/good person meant voting for Canada’s equivalent of the Tea Party.
(It used to be the equivalent of the Democrats, but it is copying the worst of US politics.)
I didn’t vote on convictions. I had been told that Liberals were evil incarnate with a plan to force every woman to have abortions. (That is a slight exaggeration. I wish it wasn’t.) That left only 2 choices – church sanctioned neo-Republicans or grassroots socialism.
I voted based on how well I liked our candidates’ children. Benefits of a small town, I knew them. One woman’s daughter had taught me swimming lessons. The man’s son used to have long conversations with my cousin about breasts, hers in particular. I voted for my swim teacher’s mom.
Immediately afterwards, the elder in my church asked which party I had voted for. His frown turned to a smile when I told him I’d voted blue. (Conservative in Canada, gay in Russia – I think its appropriate that the party that campaigns on marriage as between a man and a woman should be the colour of homosexuality.)
Now I have no small town biases to vote on. I’ve never met my candidates. The Conservative candidate for our riding didn’t show up for the debate at the University. Where she works. She doesn’t think she has any competition. I haven’t met the others either, but at least they show up!
I have no church telling me how to vote. No church members exclaiming that they were shocked to learn a Christian didn’t vote Conservative and wondered what kind of Christian they could be. (Umm, maybe one who takes Jesus’ message of social justice seriously and calls the nationalist, health & wealth doctrines hypocritical?)
So, I am forced to learn about the parties and the issues. And that is work. And it is discouraging.
But, Canadians are good at laughing at themselves. Here are the two main parties, being honest (because there aren’t any politicians speaking):