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Wednesday : 09 June 2004

I go on a lot about yankee politics, and you'd think that, given how much I dislike them, I wouldn't pay so much attention. The sad fact is, though, that their politics affect us. They're huge, they're a major part of our economy, and whether we like it or not, we're stuck with them. That means that the manner in which they run their country, or destroy their economy, has an enormous impact upon Canada.

That said, Canadian politics are far more important because they affect us (Canadians) directly. The big debate this election is: Liberals or Conservatives.

The Liberals have been running the country for ages. Under them we have rights to things which should be fundamental, like gay marriage, freedom of choice in the abortion issue, freedom of (and from) religion, reduced military spending, the gun registry, and so on. Of course, given the recent recessions, among other things, the Liberals have had to make spending cuts which have affected basic services like Healthcare.
Let's look, for a moment, to the south. In america they have: low taxation, lower education, greater population, and medical care privatisation. What does this mean? It means that if you're a doctor or nurse you can make a hell of a lot more money in yankeeland than you can in Canada. Medical care there is a business, which makes life a business in america. If your health is at risk, you'd better hope that you have lots of money. But this means that medical people who are just in it for the money can go to america and really make a difference... to their bank accounts. It means that if they hospital businesses want to attract clients/patients, they need to hire good medical staff. Hence the money.
So how does the Liberal government keep the medical staff in Canada? They have to pay them more. That's one of those things that can't be avoided. You want to keep your doctor from going to yankeeland for the money, you have to pay her to keep her here.

And what about the tax cuts to major corporations?
Let's look at that. Essentially, a tax is the government taking money off the corporations.
Those corporations create jobs for Canadian people.
If the environment does not look profitable, the corporation is going to either collapse because it cannot afford to stay in business, or relocate to a more profitable environment (e.g. India). That will eliminate jobs for many Canadians, who will then be on employment insurance, thus taking money out of the system instead of putting it into the system.
So, as a government, you need to make the environment profitable in order to keep the companies here. You reduce the amount of money that you're taking off them, and everyone wins. If you don't, everyone loses.

Naturally, the conservatives and the NDP are using the cuts and things as their primary focus when attacking the Liberals, and most people don't look for the real reason because they're too quick to blame the government, and too self-absorbed to look beyond their own immediate wellbeing. So you see television ads about how the Liberals are spending more money paying off top doctors while at the same time cutting funding to Healthcare, and instituting corporate tax cuts, but you don't see why.

It's a question of spin. The conservatives take the issues facing the Liberals and spin them to make the Liberals look really bad. But spin is all about making the facts better or worse in the eye of the beholder.

Let me illustrate spin for you. Fact: Jim Shoreman is arrested for killing Suzi Armbruester. Here's the story:

Jim Shoreman is scheduled for trial today for the brutal murder of Suzi Armbruester, a girl barely half his size. Shoreman viciously beat the nineteen year old girl to death in her home by striking her in the face repeatedly with a hammer. A handgun was also found at the scene. Shoreman has admitted that the violence was the result of rejected sexual advances. Jim Shoreman is scheduled for trial today in an obvious case of self defence. Shoreman, a carpenter, was assaulted by nineteen year old high school dropout Suzi Armbruester as he repaired a handrail in her home. Violently drunk, Armbruester made advances on Shoreman and, when he refused to cheat on his wife with her, thrust a handgun into his eye. Blinded and panicked, Shoreman flailed at his attacker with the hammer that he had been using to repair the handrail. In his desperate attempt to defend himself, Shoreman accidentally struck Armbruester's temple, and she died instantly.

Notice how much easier it is to incriminate Shoreman, and how much more difficult it is to defend him? How if you focus on one part of what happened it looks bad, but when you see the whole story it's understandable? People want to believe the worst, and that's particularly true when times are tough. They want someone to blame. They want a scapegoat on whom they can heap all of the blame for everything that makes them unhappy, and who they can then destroy, in one manner or another, and everything will be ok.

Scapegoating is hardly abnormal human behaviour. There are many scapegoat rituals in human history.

So the cuts that the Liberal government has been making to things like Healthcare are spun to make them look bad, and most people are so quick to place blame that they don't see the bigger picture.

Let me put it this way: you're a student on a fixed income. You have X amount of dollars coming in each month, Y amount going toward living expenses, and Z going toward things like transport. If ( Y + Z ) > X, you're buggered. You're spending more than you're making, and you can't carry on like that for long.
Solutions? Obviously, increasing X would be good, but your employer probably won't give you more money just because you ask for it. So we can rule that out.
So what's left? You try to reduce Z by traveling less, or Y by going out for dinner less frequently or buying cheaper groceries, you (say it with me now) cut spending wherever you can to make ( Y + Z ) < X, and sometimes that means making sacrifices and hard decisions that, in the short term, make things much harder. But the fact remains that outgoing expenses must be less than incoming funds.

Now, suppose that the incoming money is composed largely of tax dollars, the employer is the taxable population of Canada, and the outgoing and living expenses are those things needed to run the country. Of course the Liberals are trying to cut spending. What choice do they have?
But it's easier to say "The Liberals make the people pay too much in taxes!" than it is to explain why. People want the government to both cut taxes and increase Healthcare funding, without taking the time to think about where the Healthcare funding is going to come from if the taxes are cut. Use your brains, people!

So on one hand we have conservatives and the NDP making sweeping statements about Liberal spending here and cutting there, and on the other hand we have the government who is trying to hold it all together, and realistically, doesn't get much of a chance to defend its actions. A thirty second television spot is all it takes to make the accusations. It takes a lot more than that to make the people understand why.
And, of course, everyone just wants someone to blame.

But under the NDP we would have a labour party that does nothing but climb into bed with the unions. And what do we know about unions?
They're self-serving, top-heavy, and good at doing nothing at all and being significantly overpaid for it. They're fucking useless, that's right. They have too much power already, and they really don't need more. Looking at BC, the NDP screws the province every time they get into power, and then the Liberals have to take drastic measures to undo the damage they've done. Which makes the Liberals look bad, and gets the NDP back in. The NDP is worse than useless, it's self-serving, and shouldn't be considered for political office.

So the NDP is bad, but they're not a major player in this election, so who cares? What about the conservatives?
  • They want to increase military spending, and increase our military to 80 000 soldiers.
    • I mean, why? What the hell do we need a bigger military for? Wouldn't that money be better spent on things that matter, like Healthcare?
  • They want to privatise Healthcare.
    • Hell no. Do we really want to be like the yankees? Where people can be turned away from hospitals because they can't afford treatment? Where your level of care, and thus the importance of your life is determined by the size of your bank account?
  • They support the policies of bush and his government
    • Even in spite of the fact that the invasion of Iraq would be a laughing stock if it weren't so tragic? Even in spite of the fact that the entire world has turned against america because of its policies, and the actions resulting therefrom? Even in spite of the fact that the foreign policies and actions of the american government have cost it billions of dollars? Anyone who supports those policies is out of his mind.
  • They oppose a national public childcare program.
    • That's a good plan. Let's make certain that the children don't get the care they need, whether you're talking about their educational, medical, or social needs. Who cares about the children, right? They're only the future...
  • They actually oppose the Kyoto Accord
    • This is the Kyoto Accord! We're talking about the future of our little planet, and they oppose it? How the hell can you oppose something so fundamentally obvious? The world is overheating because we're filling the atmosphere with toxic gases. We must do something about it or, eventually, we all die. Humans, crocodiles, wolves, butterflies.. everyone.
  • They're what's left of the alliance, which means that they're religion-based.
    • Goodbye freedom of (and from) religion, gay marriage, abortion rights, separation of church and state... They're social conservatives, so ladies, you know that whole liberal equality thing you're getting so used to?
christ, that's insane. The Liberals are trying to save Healthcare, and the conservatives want to dump huge amounts on money into a military that we don't need so that they can go and get Canadians killed in wars which don't concern us. We don't need a government who wants to play soldier. We need a government who will look after the people. That means Healthcare, not guns and bombs and frigging tanks.
What the hell good is a tank to me, Joe Canadian? Right now everyone leaves us alone (except the americans). If we get a big military and go starting fights like the americans, we're going to make some serious enemies. Everyone loves Canada. Why the hell would a responsible government want to change that? The responsibility of a government is to protect the people. Getting involved with wars is not the best way to do this. Siding with america is not the best way to do this.
And where's this money going to come from? Are they going to increase taxes? So I have to pay more taxes for a policy that I vehemently oppose? No, no they're not. In fact, they want to cut taxes dramatically. So will they just cut funding to things like Healthcare, Education, and social programs? Which is what they're criticising the Liberals for doing but at least the Liberals have a good reason!

So, essentially, the conservatives want to privatise Healthcare, cut education, cut social programs, cut environmental protection programs, cut national childcare programs, drag equality back fifty years, and buy a whole bunch of weapons so that they can send Canadians overseas to be killed in wars that the americans start.
Honestly, you'd have to be a moron to vote for anyone other than the Liberals.

June 28th is coming. Make the right choice. Vote Liberal.

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