Election Endorsement

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The big media outlets do it, so why not me? Today, 10 Minutes of Words makes its election endorsement.

Many of you may have thought I was being coy and are probably expecting that I will endorse Stephen Harper for four more years. Go home; you’re drunk.

Obviously I can’t do that. The list of reasons is long and others have done a great job of compiling it so let me keep it down to three. Harper has done everything he can to make Canada a smaller place, a narrower democracy in which few people can participate. He has sown division, wrecked the tax system, damaged the environment (or ignored it) torn apart the social safety net and demoralized the public service. His attack on science and evidence-based decision making… sorry, once you get started it is hard to stop.

Gilles Duceppe: I wish him a happy second retirement.

I like Elizabeth May and admire her hard work and determination. She deserves more support than she gets but clearly is not in contention this time around. Hopefully in the next election, proportional representation will allow the Green party a significantly larger voice in the House of Commons. I don’t always agree with them but their voice is reasoned and important.

Now the hard part. Trudeau or Mulcair. The Liberal or the New Democrat.

This should be an easy one for me. I first joined the NDP when I was fourteen. I worked in every election after that for twenty years; I was a candidate in two of them. I fell out of the habit of active politics when I was working in management in the NWT but remained a consistent NDP voter. I rarely voted otherwise except when it made sense strategically to do so (such as electing Joe Clark in Calgary). Even though I work for a (former) Liberal Senator I still support the left.

I recall in 2005 stopping to speak to Jack Layton in the tunnel connecting West Block to Centre Block on Parliament Hill and telling him how much I respected the work he was doing keeping the then-Liberal government on their toes. I especially admired the deal he made with Martin to improve social programs. Then after 2006, Layton became the main support of the first Harper minority. He particularly backed many of his mandatory minimum sentencing laws. I felt betrayed but I kept the faith. I was thrilled when they started fighting the Tories again late in their second minority and very happy when the NDP won official opposition.

A year ago I probably would have backed Mulcair and the NDP. I might again in the future. But the adherence to the balanced budget promise makes no sense. The pledge to abolish the Senate is undoable given the Constitution. The stolid middle of the road performance in this campaign has left me little choice but to support another person and another party.

I’m not enamoured with that option. The Liberals have failed progressives in the past – though not as often as some people claim. They had arranged a national child care program and had adopted the Kelowna Accord – both destroyed when the Martin government fell. But still, I remain wary. There are too many other disappointments.

Trudeau has impressed me from the beginning – even though I wasn’t a supporter, I predicted six months ago that on Election Day, he was most likely to have come out as the main challenge to Harper. Not ready? I suspect he has been preparing himself for this for a very long time, maybe, subconsciously, for his whole life. He is certainly as ready as Stephen Harper was when he became Prime Minister.

And I like the fact that he works with others, has built a team. I suspect we are voting for a government not a one-man show – something that is certain with Harper and may be true with Mulcair as well.

Given that, I would like to see Trudeau cooperate far and wide. So while I endorse him and the Liberal Party in this election, I hope it is only a minority government with a strong and active NDP partner.

And that’s a bit more than ten minutes.

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