Whenever there's a goverment in Canada that the press or someone decides has been in power "too long" there arises this public discourse about punishing that party by voting them out of office. This election is no exception. There's big talk among voters about punishing the Liberals. Funny thing is, most Canadians who feel this way, decide to vote Conservative as the way to punish them.
For my international readers, Canada is a multi-party system. Currently there are 4 parties running candidates in every riding in the country, but one, The Green Party, have never won a seat. There is also a Quebec-only party (Bloc Quebecois) who have been very successful and are considered part of the national political scene (Quebec has a lot of seats). We've only every had Liberal and Conservative governments, so for the wishy-washy middle, they punish the one in power by voting for the other one. And it drives me fucking crazy.
I am no Liberal. Never voted for them, probably never will. I think that they've done some pretty shady and crappy things recently and in their latest 14 year running of the country, but in the minority situation we just had, they weren't too bad. Both the NDP and the Bloc kept them to the left of centre and this country established gay marriage, a start at a National childcare system and more funding for post-secondary education--all things I've been fighting for in one way or another in the last decade.
So, this "punishing" thing isn't working for me. Let's talk about punishment shall we?
If those who wish to punish the Liberals vote Conservative and they form the government Paul Martin might have a bruised ego, but he'll still be rich. The other candidates will either go back to their lives, or if they've been in government for a while, they'll land good jobs of high prominence somewhere. Most people who run in Federal politics are pretty well-educated, successful types, so I'm thinking this idea of punishment is like being spanked with a feather.
But a lot of Canadians sure are going to be punished...
1. Abortion rights will erode
2. Kiss the national daycare program goodbye (125 bucks a week pays for diddly when it comes to childcare)
3. Watch medicare go private
5. Sure you'll have lower taxes, but you'll still have to buy those services your taxes used to pay for
6. Research and development is going to tank--Conservatives don't like it when us feminist chicks study popular culture and the perverted arts.
7. There will be tougher sentences for gun-related crimes, but nothing will be done to ameliorate the structural conditions which perpetuate violence (America should be gun-crime free based on this model)
8. We'll get to cozy up to the US more
9. There will be little done for the Poor, Homeless or Aboriginal people in this country--tax incentives are his answer to everything.
10. We'll have to listen to Stephen Harper and his racist, sexist, stupid band of fools for four or five long loathesome years.
So who exactly is being punished here?