Few options available, but one must be chosen

As if 2021 didn’t have enough inconveniences, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called an election for Sept. 20.

I think I echo the sentiments of many when I say that very few wanted this election.

We’re less than two years removed from the previous federal election and in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pandemic. The last thing I want to do is listen to the candidates talk about what they will do differently than the other candidates or the current government.

The Conservatives got off to a rough start in this campaign. The party released a social media ad that featured Trudeau’s face superimposed over Veruca Salt, the spoiled child in the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who sings “I want it now” before things go off the rails.

The 37-second ad, which looked like it was made by a 10-year-old in a tech class, attacked Trudeau. It showed “Trudeau” singing Salt’s song while various items in the candy factory were labelled with campaign issues such as “the economy” and “higher taxes.”

Many on social media panned the ad, and Warner Bros. – the studio who owns the copyright to Willy Wonka – filed a copyright infringement complaint under the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Apparently, the Conservatives didn’t ask permission to use the clip for their ad.

The Liberal Party seems to be having its own issues with social media. Twitter put a warning on a tweet from Chrystia Freeland, who served as deputy prime minister under Trudeau, calling it “manipulated media.”

The tweets are heavily edited and show Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole answering a question about privatized health care during an online question-and-answer session in July 2020 during the Conservative Party’s leadership race.

The tweet shows O’Toole being asked if he would bring private, for-profit health care to Canada. In the video, he quickly replies, “Yes.”

What the social media post doesn’t show is that O’Toole comments later in the Q&A session that universal health care access remains paramount.

Then there is Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party (NDP). While they haven’t been criticized for using “American-style” campaign tactics like the Liberals and Conservatives, many are calling the NDP’s platform a “fairy tale.”

“The party’s 2021 platform reads something like a fairy tale, full of feel-good sections on student loan forgiveness, guaranteed living income, free mental and dental health care and, oddly, door-to-door postal service,” Sabrina Maddeaux of the National Post wrote on Sunday in her column.

The Green Party seemingly can’t get their ducks in a row. The party is going through a leadership struggle; they’ve had to delay their leadership convention because a federal election has been called.

Then there is the People’s Party of Canada, who despite their somewhat radical views in the opinion of this writer, cannot catch a break.

It was reported by the CBC on Sunday that Leaders’ Debates Commissioner David Johnston has confirmed that leaders of five political parties will be invited to participate in the upcoming election debates — but People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier is not among them.

It’s not the views of the People’s Party keeping them from the debates, but rather the criteria set out by the Leader’s Debate Commission: at least one elected MP, your party received at least four per cent of the vote in the last election, or your party has at least four per cent support at the national level five days after an election is called. They don’t meet those criteria.

While we may not like the options presented to us as candidates or leaders in this election, there is only one way to change that: by voting.

Not voting because “they all suck, so why bother?” is the wrong way to approach elections. Regardless of how many people vote, someone still gets elected in each riding.

In 2019, 67 per cent of eligible voters took the time to cast a ballot. That means 33 per cent – one-third – of this country either doesn’t care or doesn’t believe in the system.

Just imagine the difference that 33 per cent could make by taking 10 minutes to vote.

For more information on how to vote on Sept. 20, visit www.elections.ca.


Mike Wilson is the editor of the Listowel Banner. Comments and feedback are welcome at mwilson@midwesternnewspapers.com.