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marlene jennings

In a democracy, I have an absolute right not to discuss how I intend to vote with anyone. However, I’m choosing to waive that right, because politics is such an important topic on this blog, to discuss why, despite the corruption, scandals and aggravation, unlike so many Canadians, I won’t be switching my vote from Liberal to Tory this time around. This is the first time I’ve ever felt the need to explain my vote, and maybe that makes the vote all that much more important.

So why vote Liberal, you may ask?

Is it because I think the Liberals have done such a great job? Not really.

Is it because I buy into the scare tactics about Stephen Harper being George W. Bush reincarnated, prepared to turn us into a far right-wing theocracy? No, I find those ads amusing at best and ridiculously disastrous for the Liberals at worst.

Is it because I think that the culture of corruption that has set in amongst the Liberals is worth rewarding? Definitely not.

Is it because I’m voting strategically, in a riding where a Liberal vote would prevent a Bloc or NDP candidate from getting elected? Nope, my riding has been solidly Liberal since 1968 and even the sponsorship scandal won’t be changing that anytime soon. I could safely lodge a protest vote with little impact.

Is it because Martin convinced me in the debates? Not at all; in fact, he’s probably one of the worst debaters I’ve ever seen, and he got his butt kicked all the way to Ellesmere Island and back.

Is it because I agree with the majority of the Liberal policies and platform issues? Not even.

Is it because I believe that a Liberal victory represents the best chance to keep Quebec in Canada and to fight sovereignty? On the contrary, I think it will probably hurt a great deal.

So, you’re probably asking yourself, why on earth would I vote for this party?

Good question.

The answer is simple: Despite all the scandals, despite all the corruption, despite the promises I don’t believe and the policies I don’t agree with, the Liberal party still is the “best of the worst” in my mind. On the major things the government has done lately, I’ve been much closer to the Liberal point of view than to the Tory one.

Some examples:

  • The economy: Whatever else he’s done, Martin has balanced the budget and improved economic conditions. He did his best to stand up to people like Jack Layton against spending we can’t afford. He even stood up to Bono – and hey, if you can say no to Bono, you can say no to anyone. The Canadian dollar is up, unemployment is down, and while the economy is still plagued with problems, I simply don’t believe that Harper is better equipped to solve them than Martin is. The Tory promises to reduce the GST may play well in the media, but in practice there are plenty of other places worth cutting first.
  • Social issues: Gay marriage is probably the most prominent example lately. As I’ve stated many times on this blog before, every Canadian – gay or straight – ought to recognize this as an issue of fundamental human rights. Any of us who belong to any kind of minority should understand that if you can have a majority-rules decision against one minority, the same logic could be used against any of us. Martin and the Liberals were on the right side of this one. Harper and the Tories were on the wrong side. And while I don’t really believe Harper will reverse it, nor do I agree with electing a party that has dedicated so much time, energy and resources to fighting it. I think the Liberals took a courageous position on this one and I respect them for it (if for little else).
  • Voting for the candidate, not the party: Cop-out? Perhaps. But I like Marlene Jennings, the incumbent Liberal MP in my riding, well enough. Her voting record is often in step with what I believe (though not always), and she has been especially strong in defending Israel and in working to strengthen Canada’s ties with Israel, which is an issue of importance to me. And I’m comfortable having her represent my riding in Parliament, whether as a member of the government or as a member of the opposition.

So the upshot is, I’m not entirely happy to be voting Liberal and I’m not about to hit the campaign trail for Martin’s team. There are plenty of places where I flat-out disagree with the Liberals on policy, and there’s no doubt the party is about as corrupt as you can get. But I’m not going blue this time, for those reasons and for the reason that I simply don’t believe the Tories have presented enough of a positive platform. They’ve been stronger in attacking the Liberals, sure, but their policy initiatives haven’t won me over.

Okay, bring it on. I’m ready.

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Because this guy doesn’t.

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Am I the only one…

04.10.2005

With all the fallout from the sponsorship scandal bringing down the Liberal government, am I the only one who doesn’t want another quick election? Sure, we can’t just let them get away with such corruption. But what does anyone think would happen with an election? Is there really any chance of a party besides the […]

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Election night results

06.28.2004

7:30pm: It’s gonna be a long night. Despite the TV networks’ rush to predict the result first, I doubt anyone will know anything certain for quite some time. I will update the table above intermittently when candidates are declared elected, but I assume most people will be watching the coverage live. Instead, I’ll post some […]

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Decision 2004

05.25.2004

The campaign has been unofficially happening for months, but now it’s official: It’s Election time again. Let the attack ads, insults, and petty politics begin. In the meantime, having recently moved out of the riding I’ve voted in my entire adult life, I’ve have been getting a crash course in the politics of my new […]

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Same-sex marriage legislation may not pass

08.08.2003

The proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage may not pass due to a large number of opposed and undecided MPs. And the big debate these days seems to miss the point. A recent poll on the Globe and Mail’s site asked people whether they thought MPs should rely on their personal or religious views, or […]

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