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CASTING MY VOTE
Most people who know me will not be surprised that I am going to support the Conservatives in the upcoming Federal election. However many of these same folks do not really know why. A number of them probably believe that I am an ideologue and would vote for the Tories under any circumstances. Not so. I am at heart, a Conservative, but I have voted for both the Liberal Party and the Green Party. I reject extremism on both the far left and the far right of the political spectrum.
I also believe that most people who seek elected office, regardless of their political persuasion, do so for the right reason; a desire to make life better for the people they serve. This I think, is especially so at the leadership level. That is why I abhor the mudslinging, innuendos and outright dishonesty that has crept of late, into election campaigns. Because we dislike or disagree with a politician, it is no reason to indulge in character assassination.
In my view, the Federal Government is charged with three main priorities. These would include the economy, our security and the environment. There are of course other important issues, but when I decide who to vote for, these issues come to the top of my list.
Stephen Harper has not been a perfect Prime Minister. Like many of his predecessors he has his warts as well as his achievements. John Ibbotson, a columnist with the Globe and Mail, has said it well in his recent bestselling biography, “Stephen Harper”. He has caught both the strengths and the weaknesses of our current Prime Minister. But on balance, I believe that Stephen Harper’s achievements for Canada are far greater than his shortcomings and I believe his Government continues to be the best choice for Canada. Here’s why.
Canada continues to have the strongest economy in the Western world. An earlier Harper Government stickhandled its way through one of the worst global recessions in our history, one that bordered on a worldwide depression. They did this by recognizing when a deficit is necessary in order to stimulate the economy and they accomplished this successfully and without hesitation. During more recent years, they have worked hard to once again balance the budget and did so last year, one year earlier than they had predicted. In the first four months of this fiscal year (from April to July) the Government has recorded an additional surplus of 5.2 billion dollars. Over the past decade, the Harper Government has managed to maintain a relatively strong economy through good times and bad while encouraging prosperity and protecting the vulnerable (who can only be protected with a strong economy). That is at least one reason why Canada is viewed as one of the best places in the world to live.
In spite of this, today, much of the world is experiencing financial stress, with falling oil prices, the deterioration of the Chinese economy, financial collapse in Greece and the Middle East refugee crisis. Strong economic experience and leadership is far more important when the going gets tough and I believe that the Harper government has proven that they have what it takes to accomplish this.
Finally, in terms of the economy, the Conservatives are the only political party who has said they will not raise income taxes, if elected. Canada is already one of the highest taxed countries in the world. Taxes, while necessary to a degree, are regressive and do not stimulate growth. The more money that stays in our pockets and the more that Government stays out of them, the more Canadians can make their own decisions and enjoy prosperity.
Sorry Folks, but I don’t have any real trouble with Bill C-51. Nor frankly do I have any difficulty with the Government revoking the citizenship of an individual (who is also a citizen of another country) who plotted multiple terrorist attacks to bomb and kill potentially thousands of people in downtown Toronto, a potential killer who admitted his goal was to maim and destroy as many people as possible. Nope, no problem at all.
Most of us realize that we live in a different kind of world today. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and pretend that what is happening in the rest of the world is not happening here. No, we should not live in fear and we should place great value on our freedom. The best way, in my view, to accomplish both, especially when we no longer know where to go to fight the enemy, is to be prepared when the enemy comes to us. As an ally of the United States, Canada is a terrorist target. Our law enforcement agencies have a good track record in detecting terrorist plots before they happen. I support a government that provides them with whatever tools they need, to be used properly and effectively, to get the job done and keep Canadians safe.
As a matter of security, I also believe that the Government’s response to the Syrian refugees is the correct one. Compassion of course. Genuine refugees should, as much as possible, be welcomed with open arms. However, knowing who we are allowing to come to Canada is equally important. Terrorist organizations have been infiltrating sympathizers into western countries for years and the current crisis gives them an added opportunity to accelerate this process. No, this is not fear mongering. This is reality.
Not so much chest thumping here. Although the Conservative Party, while in Government, has invested 17.7 billion dollars in dozens of major environmental initiatives, there is still much to be done. I do however agree with their position that environmental protection goes hand in hand with our economic future.
David Suzuki, a respected, albeit controversial Canadian environmentalist, said recently that, “None of the Parties, except the Green Party are taking climate change seriously. “ In particular, when Justin Trudeau called Suzuki asking for support for his environmental platform, he declined, saying it was the same old platitudes, which resulted in Trudeau accusing Suzuki of “sanctimonious crap”.
While I believe that the Conservative Government and the Leaders of the other Parties, do take the environment and climate change seriously, I also suggest that we desperately need to see more hard evidence of this as we move forward.
Another reason I plan to support the Conservatives, is our local member. Tony Clement has served Parry Sound Muskoka well. He is readily accessible, fights hard for the interests of his constituents and has worked tirelessly to bring jobs and opportunities to the Riding. He has also served Canada well and deserves to be re-elected.
WHY I CANNOT SUPPORT THE OTHER PARTIES
In a nutshell. I cannot support the Bloc Quebecois because they want to break up Canada. I cannot support the N.D.P. because they would allow Quebec to separate with a 50% + 1 vote and without a vote from the rest of Canada. They also intend to introduce Proportional Representation which means members of parliament would be appointed by political parties and not elected. Large Cities would control Parliament and smaller and rural communities would not be adequately represented. I cannot support the Liberals because their financial plan would move us from balanced budgets to deliberate rather than necessary deficits. Equally important, is their move to reduce tax benefits to small businesses who are the backbone of the middle class. I cannot support the Green Party, because they cannot win and to do so would be a protest vote, which in my case, I do not need. However, Dale Peacock….you did ask me who my second choice would be and that would be the Green Party!
And so on balance….I will vote Conservative, warts and all! Last week I said I would invite other respectful points of view and I do. I am especially interested in hearing why people think the leader of their particular Party should be Prime Minister. There have been books written about what is wrong with Stephen Harper but it would be refreshing to hear what is right about the other leaders.