It May Not be as Bad as it All Seems

It has been discouraging these last few years trying to figure out where Canadians' political values were moving. We have twice elected that Reform/Alliance/Conservatives bunch to the House of Commons despite the fact that they seem to represent values which many of us find tough to deal with. They: 
  • are tough on crime, 
  • they pander to the anti gun control lobby,
  • they shun climate change research and support dirty oil, 
  • they believe that lower corporate tax rates will solve our economic issues, 
  • they are soft of humanitarian aid, 
  • they are overtly militaristic, 
  • most of their elected members are little more than mouthpieces for the PMO and 
  • they have turned our political process into a Republican style, dirty war of words. 
What is to like and why do they stand a fairly good chance of getting re-elected, albeit to a minority? So are Canadians moving en mass to a more Republican style right-wing way of thinking. Perhaps not.

Environics Focus Canada  has done a regular public opinion survey of Canadian citizens since the mid-1970s. Jeffrey Simpson points out in yesterday's Globe & Mail that the results of that that poll suggests something different than we would be led to believe by the Harper crowd.  Canadians have probably not lost their minds despite of the way many of us vote. In fairness, that is my conclusion, not his.

The poll found that:
  • Almost 60% of Canadians prefer crime prevention programs and education over the tougher punishment proposed by Harper.
  • Canadians believe that our government's spending priorities ought to be education, health care, programs for the elderly, the environment and reducing child poverty. 
  • Over 70 percent of Canadians are in favor of redirecting military spending towards reducing greenhouse emissions. 
  • Eighty percent of Canadians believe that the government should invest in green jobs.
  • They think that there should be transition programs for those affected negatively by the shift to green energy from fossil fuels.
  •  The poll also found that too much focus is put on economic growth and that most Canadians believe that consumerism is one of the root causes of climate change.
  • Eighty two percent of us do not fear crime in our neighbourhoods.
  • Eighty percent of us feel that the gap between rich and poor has widened in the last 10 years.
  • Far in a majority of us think it is important to reduce that gap.
I take some solace in the poll results. We have not lost our collective minds. Or, perhaps not at the very least.

So where are we. The Liberals made a couple of bad leadership choices. I liked Dion and I respect Ignatieff but Iggy just don't seem to have captured the hearts and minds of Canadians and thoughtful Dion was no match for the bullyboy Harper style.

I think Jack Layton is a nice guy too but all this kitchen table/working man talk doesn't do a hell of a lot to capture the attention of Canadians except in a negative way.

So we might be stuck with those guys for a while yet but another lost election will put short shrift to both of them. Then perhaps we can move forward.

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