Give your vote careful consideration before Oct. 21
Base your choice on the party, the leader and the local candidate
So how is it going for you in sorting out who to vote for in the October federal election?
Last month I posed a series of questions that you may want to ask the various candidates, which might help you decide for whom to vote. Several readers told me that it was helpful but I chickened out by not stating my position. After all, that is why you read these opinion columns.
I have struggled with the question because I have particular biases, as do we all, and I certainly do not want to impose them on others. After retiring, I have been actively supporting the Liberal Party. That said, I believe I am a fiscal conservative, believing in responsible financial management. But I believe in social democracy and thus am more of a progressive or centrist thinker.
Initially, I was impressed with Elizabeth May because I believe that climate change is the most existential challenge of our time. She seemed more informed and evidence-based, but when I learned that many of her facts were questionable I was disappointed.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh seems like a nice man but speaks in clichés and does not seem to me to be informed to the degree you would want in a prime minister. But I admire his courage to run and the statement that he is making to the country and world that a person of such diversity can rise to leadership of one of Canada’s major parties. I also like the NDP commitment to child care and better employment insurance benefits to new families.
Andrew Scheer so far seems to be “Stephen Harper light.” I do like his concept of a corridor across Canada for utilities but, other than that, he seems just too stiff and not to possess the qualities of strong leadership we need to unite the country. Perhaps my greatest concern is that everything he has presented seems to be through an economic lens. Climate change, immigration, poverty reduction, multiculturalism are much more complex issues affecting Canadians. His responses come from being a strong family advocate, but the platform as presented to date lacks specifics on how to truly address the issues.
I did not like that Justin Trudeau passed on the first debate. After all, campaigns are about speaking out to inform us and to contrast your beliefs and record with the other leaders’. I have also been disappointed in the revelations of his inappropriate social behaviour. I do like several of his platform elements such as the carbon tax because it allows for a disincentive for fossil fuels and a reinvestment in green technology and energy but through the choices of the citizen.
So where to go?
We have to look at policy and practices. I cannot realistically see the Green or NDP parties leading or winning. The PQ is now on the rise in Quebec and, in a minority government, could hold the balance of power. This is discouraging and worrisome.
So it comes down to the two major parties. As I stated earlier I am a centrist, and this means a person of compromise. The only party with this leaning is the Liberal Party, in my view.
While the Liberals under Trudeau have at times struggled, I believe they have tried in the most balanced way to address the issues. I also believe they have dealt with foreign affairs quite effectively, given the Trump challenge. I give Christine Freeland much credit.
I would like to see greater efforts by the next federal government to address income inequality, Indigenous reconciliation with real results in sustainable communities, poverty by addressing the need for low-income housing, and rein in the budget deficits.
But in the end one votes for their local candidates. I admire all candidates for stepping forward and thank them for wanting to serve our communities.
I was disappointed in Conservative Michael Skinner’s initial statement that he wanted to have a clean campaign before going on to target the incumbent about absenteeism. This showed a lack of judgment and congruency. It also showed a lack of understanding with what a federal representative does.
The Liberal candidate was a cabinet minister, and this is significant. It is my experience that a minister has much greater leverage in getting the attention of decision-makers. My leaning would be toward giving Maryam Monsef another term. She was new and young in the role. But she has outstanding people skills and has demonstrated she wishes to work collaboratively with all levels of government to develop plans and advocacy for our community. In my experience, she has been present and now has experience as a minister and the potential to do much more.
Good luck in your consideration of the candidates, but please do vote. It matters.
Peterborough-Kawartha federal candidates discuss arts, culture and heritage policy on Wednesday at Showplace.