Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Twelve things I want out of this election

  1. I want a government that features those with an interest in and talent for governing in control, with the ideologues relegated to the opposition or back-benches. Don't get me wrong: ideologues have their place in government. They are invaluable in presenting the minority or unpopular opinion, in acting as government's conscience and in keeping government honest; but they also tend to be the ones who, when in power, rule with the arrogance that says they know better than everyone else. We saw this with two catastrophic Ontario governments in a row from opposite ends of the political spectrum -- Bob Rae's NDP and Mike Harris' Conservatives -- and we see it in so many of Stephen Harper's statements. I want a government, in other words, that governs by thoughtful consensus and not by fiat.

  2. I want a government that will stop thinking in terms of "taxpayers" and reintroduce the concept of "citizens."

  3. I want a government that recognizes who is in charge. In her first Massey lecture this past Sunday in St. John's, Margaret Atwood reminded us that that government are public servants, and they are there to work for us. I want a government that will not only remember this, or deign to acknowledge it on occasion, but will make it their most basic philosophical principle.

  4. I want a government that recognizes that a society's health and vibrancy is directly reflected in the health and vibrancy of its art and culture.

  5. I want a government and an opposition that will talk to each other and the Canadian people as adults with fully functioning intellects, whose fears and concerns deserve careful and meaningful consideration and discussion rather than petulant grousing, partisan blinders and ad hominem attacks.

  6. I want a government and an opposition that knows the difference between genuine issues on one hand, and trivia, gossip, gaffes and blunders on the other -- and which treats them accordingly.

  7. I want a government that raises the bar for Canadians, and challenges us to rise to the occasion.

  8. I want a government that listens to the words and voices of Canadians instead of polling numbers.

  9. I want a government whose social agenda is in inverse proportion to individuals' and groups' wealth and influence -- a government whose first task is to help the least of us.

  10. I want a government that will offer creative solutions to our most intractable problems. As someone left of center, I am in principle in favour of larger government, but I must acknowledge that too often the expedient solution, from welfare to education to corporate collapse, is to simply throw money at a problem ... which inevitably leads to graft, to waste, and to the justifiable rage on the part of Canadians at such profligacy. I want to see, in other words, solutions to problems that involve more that writing a cheque. I want to see, in other words, brains at work in my goverment.

  11. I want a government with a vision of government that is more than an ad hoc series of loosely related and opportunistic policies. I want political discourse to be about more than taxes and partisanship.

  12. I want a government whose leaders will sit down and remember what optimism and hope and desire to help the nation got them into public service to begin with -- and if none of those elements were there to begin with, to get the hell out of politics.

Because, seriously -- why on earth would be we willing to accept anything less from those we entrust with the leadership of our country?

4 comments:

Danika Barker said...

And I want a pony!
I just voted and felt mildly empowered. Of course that could have been the rush of Benylin All in One coursing through my bloodstream.

Adam H. said...

"but will make it there most basic philosophical principle".

There? *gasp* I thought you were an English professor!

Chris in NF said...

Oops. Thanks for the proofreading. Apparently I can't type today -- the first draft of this had "Margerate Atwood," along with a host of other typos. I blame it on a turkey hangover.

Nikki Stafford said...

"If I could have one wish, it would be for all of the children in the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace."

Sorry, dear Christopher. Looks like you were put on Santa's naughty list and now you won't be getting ANY of your wishes this year.

Maybe next election?