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Maxed Out: The voting puzzle

Max Sept 9
Voting for a federal MP for Whistler is not a clear-cut choice and could lead to casting ballots strategically

“I was really hoping this wouldn’t happen again.”

As a conversation starter right now in Canada, that statement seemed overly ambiguous. “Hope what wouldn’t happen again,” I wondered as the potential list of things currently going on I wished wouldn’t have happened again ran through my mind.

Another wave of COVID-19? Possibly. I certainly wish I wasn’t hearing medical people across the country warning me about hospitals and ICU wards running so near capacity the threat of triage lottery—you live; no room for you—loomed likely. 

Royal Inland Hospital in beautiful downtown Kamloops has cancelled all elective surgeries now for the past three weeks. Running about 100 per week, that’s 300 people who were expecting to get fixed who are cooling their heels at home while the regional hospital is stuffed with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients whose stubbornness, for the most part, has provided a karmic reminder of cause and effect. And while that isn’t top of mind for folks living in Tiny Town, it is for many of my Cariboo neighbours, as well as being the same sick movie playing out across the country. So not only are the freedumb lovers driving the fourth wave and spreading the virus, their selfishness is keeping others from healing and getting on with their lives.

Meanwhile, having lost what was left of their closed minds, more militant members of the anti-vax brigade divine the depths of stupidity by protesting at hospitals, blocking entrances needed by patients, ambulances, doctors, nurses and, yes, other anti-vaxxers who now have COVID-19 and need to get in. Frankly, at this point, I believe any voluntarily unvaccinated person who shows up at a hospital with the virus should be given a supply of Ivermectin and turned away to suffer, albeit dewormed, at home.

Another year of anxiety-ridden and/or largely online schooling? Could be. We won’t know for a number of years what the effects are of impersonal education at the university level. While the various 101 amphitheatre courses were largely taught via pre-recorded, mind-numbing lectures, it’s impossible to know how effective online courses will have been for the graduates who endured them for a couple of the most important years of their schooling.

Likewise, there’s no way to know what scarring effects this is going to have on children who haven’t known what open classrooms really are and can’t understand why their parents are so freaked out about packing them off to school. Oh, for the days when the scariest part of back to school was worrying about whether some kid was packing a peanut butter sandwich.

Ah, I’ve got it: the election! Right? Right. Yeah, I was really hoping we wouldn’t have to go through this again. By this, I mean an election coupled with a real longing for a candidate I could be excited about supporting. And by candidate, I mean party leader in this case, notwithstanding all politics are local.

While all politics are local, I’m enough of a realist to know none of the candidates in this riding stand much of a chance of nabbing a top job in the coming government. No knock on you guys, that’s just the way things are in the riding with a name too long and an electorate not important enough.

The unfortunate outcome of this is that, once again, we’re left with voting strategically as opposed to voting for the candidate we might consider “better” than the others, not to get too excited and say voting for someone we’d really like to have governing us. The only sense in which the winner of this riding matters is how the calculus of his election helps determine the form and shape of the next federal government.

This completely unnecessary election was announced because Trudeau the Second believed he had a shot at a majority government. Oh how a couple of weeks can alter the political landscape. As of today, he has a waning shot at forming a minority government and a real shot at leading the official opposition ... at least until the Liberals left standing serve his head on a platter or give him the warrior’s option of falling on his sword.

Like the rest of the world’s leaders, he couldn’t have foreseen the debacle in Afghanistan. Whether he and the military leaders could have sprung into action sooner or more effectively to get Canadians and Afghan enablers out of the country before the door slammed shut is open to debate but isn’t relevant—he wears that clusterf%@k like a rotting fish necklace.

He might not have anticipated the fourth wave would be so bad. Might not have imagined the vitriol he’s being met with at every campaign stop by the Freedumb Fighters. Might have thought the economy would get better. Might have imagined everyone would forget his many broken promises, scandals, imperial rule, contempt for Parliament, ad nauseum

So now he’s left with only two arrows in his quiver: attack his opponents and promise everything to everyone. 

The latter is moot since the other two leaders who matter are also promising everything to everyone. The former is thin gruel, though perhaps worth the effort.

If, as polls show, green issues are a hot button with many voters who still believe there’s a chance to avoid an environmental Armageddon, attacking the Conservative leader may have traction. While the Conservative platform on the environment has moved considerably, it has two glaring flaws. For starters, it’s far less robust than the Liberal position and, as this summer’s infernos have shown us, time is running out for half measures. 

For seconds, it’s hard to believe the Cons would follow through on it. Their newfound green tinge veneers both a reluctance to seriously embrace environmental issues in the past and the rock solid base to whom they’re beholden is still firmly rooted in fossil fuel production. Mr. O’Toole has already shocked the more conservative wing of his party by moving left on many red-meat issues and his on-again, off-again position on gun control likely foreshadows his commitment to the party’s environmental plank.

Meanwhile, the NDP is bleeding away Liberal supporters who are fed up with Trudeau’s... well, let’s just leave it at that—fed up with Trudeau. They may stare in horror at the un-costed promises the NDP leader has thrown out, suggesting the “wealthy” will pay for them, but they’re having an existential crisis at the thought of supporting JT for one more cycle.

For voters in Sea to Sky, there is only rocky ground to till. Liberal or Conservative is a clear-cut choice. It’s up for grabs whether a vote for the NDP is a vote for a Conservative minority government or not. The rest of the choices are just noise.

May history not judge us too harshly.