It amazes me how many people are willing to jump onto the ABC bandwagon or buy into the 'Stop Harper' campaigns. With little thought to what the 'Anybody' in ABC might be putting forward in their own campaign, it seems many people are ready to define themselves as 'not Conservative'.
Congratulations. That's so clever. Well, if being 'not Conservative' is your main reason for voting for 'Anybody' else, then there are a few things you might want to think about before marking that ballot.
Stephen Harper is the only leader not panicking over the economy.
Who do you want at the helm-- a harried, worried scaremonger who sees icebergs and storms in every direction and who will run us aground or scurry for the nearest port? Or a calm, rational leader whose nerves are steady enough that he can steer through the crisis, not into it?
Personally, I'd go for the level-headed guy. Fear is self-fulfilling and panic-begets-panic-begets-crisis. Harper has been navigating choppy waters without getting into a tizzy like Dion, Layton and May. If he doesn't seem empathetic enough, thank God. There's someone who's keeping his head while those around him are losing theirs. If it seems cold or unkind -- I'll take it. It means he's not being governed by fear or emotion and guess what -- that's a good thing.
If you're simply anti-Conservative because you're stuck in the 'don't scare me' frame of mind -- then you are scary because the Conservatives are the only ones looking forward on the economy instead of trying to reach back.
Call me crazy, but I'm not surprised that Canada is losing jobs in the manufacturing sector -- are you?
In global economy, first world manufacturers with their nifty benefit packages, pension plans and high hourly wages are not competitive. Thanks Buzz, Sid, Jack and your ilk for years of amazing labour negotiations that have brought us to this point. The truth hurts -- you had it great when the economy was good and now that things are going down -- you're being hit hard. It's sad and I feel for all the people who are victims of it -- but the Conservatives aren't lamenting manufacturing job losses as much as they're committed to creating jobs in other sectors. Doesn't that make sense -- to open ourselves up to fields where we can be leaders and competitive?
We're never going to go back to the days where GM and Ford and their feeder companies make up a huge portion of the labour force of Ontario -- we need innovation. We don't need leaders who are looking wistfully to yesterday -- we need people who can focus on the future. Yes, manufacturing jobs have been lost -- but more and different jobs are being created and there are new strategies for job retraining. Maybe you won't have all the union perqs but it's a far brighter future than trying to reach back for something that's long gone to another country that can do it much, much cheaper.
The Liberals and NDP have to start living in today's world. The corporate 'tax cuts' or the NDP derides? What about all the corporate welfare that's been happening in the auto sector and for Bombardier -- that's okay? Yes, yes it is. Just like it's okay to get abortions in private clinics but not MRIs -- because one is politically correct and the other not. One pleases a particular interest group, the other not -- but corporate tax cuts are not gifts to the devil as Jack would have you believe.
What Jack fails to grasp -- or grasps but hopes the ABCers don't, is that it's the corporations who create and maintain jobs. If they don't like the tax laws, they ain't staying. It's a buyers market. They can shop around for the best tax deals and if those deals happen to be in Mexico or China or Wisconsin -- those corporations aren't going to give a damn about your family, your mortgage, your car payments. Business is business -- a favourable tax climate for business is a good thing -- which is why Jim Flaherty said that Ontario is the last place companies would want to invest -- the tax burden on the business doesn't make it profitable -- WHY SHOULD THEY COME and WHY SHOULD THEY STAY?
If we want companies to invest here, we have to make it worth their while. Dalton, Dion and Layton don't get that.
If you're voting 'not Conservative' because you think that's going to help the arts -- then think again. Did any of you read the National Post editorial that detailed some of the benefactors of 'arts funding'? According to the Post, advertising companies receive the largest portion of 'arts funding'. So, you get to give money to the government, who hands it to the ad company, who creates and ad to get you to buy their product with what little money you have left after you've given so generously to the taxman. And this is what you believe in?
I never used to believe that very many people defined themselves as 'not American' rather than putting any real thought into what it meant to be a Canadian. Why would anyone define themselves as 'not something'. Most of us know that to be Canadian holds special significance -- it means respect for authority, listening politely to the other guy but thinking independently. It means being ready to stand up for what's right and having the muscle to back it. Being Canadian means quiet strength, it means honesty and integrity, it means seeing the whole picture -- not just the few pixels we ourselves inhabit. In my opinion, the Conservatives -- even with their decidedly unconservative tilt since forming government -- best represent Canadian values and they are prepared to define themselves, rather than rant that at least they're not the other guy.
Stephen Harper isn't perfect and the Conservative Party platform falls far short of what most conservatives would prefer. Far from being ultra-right wing, the Conservatives have pulled the party left because they are seeing the whole picture, and are calmly leading into future. Harper showed quiet strength at the debates and he's showing it each day throughout this campaign. I'm surprised at his patience in the face of some of the vile comments and insults that have been hurled at him.
What does Anybody else have to offer? Oh yeah. 'Vote for me because I'm not him and I'm also not American or George Bush.' They are defining themselves by what they are not -- 'not Conservative'. All that really means is they are not prepared to move forward -- they are still looking back to a global economy that no longer exists and to three elections ago when Canadians didn't know who Stephen Harper was. They think we'll be swayed by dark, shadowy images flashing across our television screens. The Liberal team is banking on us not figuring it out -- if the Liberals are the fall-back guy, then they really don't have anything to offer and they hope that if they scare us enough, we won't notice.
The Liberals think we're stupid. I hope we don't prove them right on election day.