Twee­dledee and Tweedle­nasty

The News (New Glasgow) - - OPINION -

The next fed­eral elec­tion is less than a year away, and the two lead­ing par­ties seem con­vinced they know what kind of cam­paign it’s go­ing to be. “It’s go­ing to get worse, it’s go­ing to get nasty,” said An­drew Scheer, who ar­gued that the news me­dia, pun­dits and aca­demics are on Justin Trudeau’s side. (That sounds fa­mil­iar — you’ll know if he starts talk­ing about the “elites” or “fake news.”).

But Scheer’s not alone.

In fact, Trudeau, has said much the same thing.

“We are now look­ing at per­haps what will be the most di­vi­sive and neg­a­tive and nasty po­lit­i­cal cam­paign in Canada’s his­tory,” Trudeau said in early Oc­to­ber.

At the time, Trudeau main­tained the Lib­er­als won’t go in that di­rec­tion, and will stay away from per­sonal at­tacks. Well, good luck with that — the Lib­er­als have shown them­selves to be as re­flex­ively nasty as any­one else in the House of Com­mons.

Trudeau has ar­gued that the Con­ser­va­tives are the cham­pi­ons of di­vi­sive pol­i­tics. Scheer, mean­while, has said that hon­our goes to the Lib­er­als.

“It’s this Lib­eral gov­ern­ment that’s been en­gaged in some of the most di­vi­sive pol­i­tics in re­cent years,” Scheer has main­tained.

Trudeau on the Con­ser­va­tives? “Once you’ve gone and di­vided and angered peo­ple in or­der to get elected it be­comes very dif­fi­cult af­ter­ward to pull them. … To run on di­vi­sion and fear and easy pop­ulism ac­tu­ally makes it harder to do the good things that must be the cen­tral pur­pose of why we run for of­fice.”

Do our lead­ers want a dirty, nasty elec­tion, one where par­ties outdo each other, reach­ing ever - down­wards for the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor? Are they each just look­ing for an ex­cuse to bring us the kind of di­vi­sive pol­i­tics that seems to be tear­ing up our neigh­bour to the south?

Or, as both Scheer and Trudeau main­tain about their own par­ties, are they both fo­cused on high-minded cam­paigns that are based on se­ri­ous poli­cies and is­sues?

The proof in the elec­toral pud­ding is just how un­palat­able the thing is when it ac­tu­ally gets close to the ta­ble.

In the end, there’s one group that has the power to de­ter­mine who gets re­warded for the be­hav­iour that ac­tu­ally un­folds in next year’s elec­tion.

How do we all make an elec­tion re­volve around the is­sues, in­stead of hate, envy and petty griev­ances?

By vot­ing on those is­sues, and pun­ish­ing the par­ties and can­di­dates that choose to take the low road, what­ever po­lit­i­cal stripe they are.

We’ve got a year to lis­ten care­fully to what’s be­ing said and by whom. Let’s use the time to think about ideas, rather than about who throws the nas­ti­est mud.

Vote for ideas, and you should get ideas. Vote for pet­ti­ness and hate, and you know what you’ll be get­ting.

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