Friday, September 11, 2015

All drinking the Kool-Aid


Last night, I attended an all-candidates' debate on the subject of women's issues. In October, Canadians will be going out to vote for our next federal government and this debate was scheduled to showcase the candidates running for election in the riding of Halifax city.



Megan Leslie is the NDP candidate and the sitting MP since 2008, I believe. Halifax is an NDP (New Democratic Party) stronghold. Andy Fillmore is running for the Liberals; Thomas Trappenberg for the Green Party, Irvine Carvery for the Conservatives (Carvery could not attend the debate) and Allan Bezanson for the Marxist-Leninist Party.

The debate consisted of a moderator asking questions of the candidates; they had 2 minutes to respond and anyone who wished to rebut had one minute to do so. It was a lively debate and quite interesting actually. But a few impressions emerged for me.

The sameness of the promises: each candidate seemed to promise more money for women's shelters, more money to help women leave abusive situations, more money for abused women to access childcare and education/job training. In general, the solutions were always more money thrown at the problem.

Upon reflection on this, I was struck by the fact that this is a Band-Aid solution. Not one single candidate spoke of why women are in abusive situations to begin with, or how to solve the problem of abusive men. This makes me think of the ongoing discussion on Fox News where the equivalent American problem seems to be violence against the police and the issue of black on black violence.
Whereas anchors like Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly ask the question: "what is causing the violence in the black community?" , no one here in Canada asks the question: "why are so many women caught in abusive relationships and why are so many men abusive?"

Shouldn't this be the issue? My reasoning is that they can't raise the question because it will bring up the problem of moral values, i.e. the ones we have lost in society. And once again, political correctness raises its ugly ubiquitous head. You can't speak of anything that might sound like a judgment on people's morality.

On another issue, all of the candidates supported free tuition for university students. The question that bubbled up in my mind was "where is all this money going to come from?" At one point, Megan Leslie said "Canada can afford it" when she was speaking of affordable housing as a right for all individuals. She said the same for a $15 minimum hourly wage.

At least, Fillmore rebutted with her on the wage question by pointing out that the NDP plan to put in a minimum wage of $15 would only apply to federal employees, not to people who work at Walmart or Tim Hortons. And that would only be 1% of the total population of working people, or 55,000 people which he said was the attendance at three Moosehead games. I couldn't help letting out a big laugh at that one. Good for him; expose the illusion.

I am not Liberal, by any stretch of the imagination. But Fillmore had another rebuttal to Megan Leslie that made me guffaw. When Leslie stated that the NDP party would bring in $15 per day day-care for all working mothers, Fillmore clarified the issue by stating that their plan would take eight years to implement. "So if you are a parent of a toddler now, or you are thinking about having a child, this will not be of any use to you", Fillmore said. Leslie did not reply to that remark.

Money was the solution for most of the candidates. Well except for the Marxist-Leninist candidate who used all his speaking time to rally the anti-war effort and to blackball anything capitalist. I wanted to ask him to name one single Communist country that was an example for the world to follow. Just name one. Rather, the Marxist-Leninist legacy is one of injustices, abuses, and mass death. I do not understand how anyone could be a Marxist-Leninist, knowing the least bit of history about Stalin and Mao. Mr Bezanson would use his compassionate sympathies far better working one-on-one in the community. Perhaps he does already, but making Communism your platform is just insane given history.

One question I really wanted to ask the candidates was one about demography. With the birth rate at 1.6 children per woman in Canada, we are not even replacing ourselves. How do any of these candidates think that we are going to be able to pay for the free tuition, the pension plans, the affordable housing for all those in need with a shrinking tax base? This never even enters the discussion, but it seems that it is rather critical to consider.

All of our entitlements are paid for by taxation. Unless we are willing to pay higher and higher taxes, (and Canadians currently pay a high tax rate compared to many other countries) how can we offer any of these entitlements to anyone?

The moderator took questions from the audience, but these were written questions and three were pulled out of a hat. That's what they said anyway. The first question was on abortion. Of course, the question had to do with PEI not allowing abortion in that province, to which Leslie said "get on board, PEI". The audience cheered and clapped. It was obvious the majority were strongly pro-choice.

And that was the overall impression of the debate and of those who attended. Sameness of opinion, they were all of the same mind. There was not one single person who raised an issue that might bring out a heckler. They were all trying to appease the voters. As one of my friends said, they have all been indoctrinated by the education system into thinking this way.

No wonder Irvine Carvery was a no-show. He would have been castigated for any right-wing views that he held. And in his absence, there were many calls to get rid of Stephen Harper.

A sorry state of affairs. And once again, I am left wondering who the heck can I vote for?





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