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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Which Way Do I Vote ?

by Francie Dennison

Even when you directly question the candidates running in the current federal election it is hard to get a clear idea of which way to cast your vote to serve the best interest of the Canadian people.

Do you let who a party's leader is, to be the determining factor in how you cast your vote? That in itself can be a problem. Every Prime Minister in Canada who has served three or more terms in office has, by their third term, developed delusions of omnipotence that the country simply cannot run without them. Stephen Harper is no exception.

Then there is the behaviour of underlings to also consider because, after all, the leader of a party is ultimately responsible for those behaviours. The criminal behaviour we have seen in recent years from Senators, MP's, and their staffers is of serious concern to the Canadian electorate, yet when interviewing the Elgin-Middlesex-London candidates for the three major parties - NDP, Liberal and Conservative - no one seemed to have a concrete plan to eliminate this criminal element from their own party or from Parliament Hill.

The best any of the three candidates (Karen Vecchio - Conservative; Lori Baldwin-Sands - Liberal; Fred Sinclair - NDP) could come up with was some sort of accountability, but that is not a solution with any teeth. Curbing this type of criminal behaviour requires some real legislative teeth, such as the removal of parliamentary privilege when someone in this kind of position is being investigated for criminal conduct in relation to their office - so that the person is held accountable in exactly the same way as anyone else would be.

It also requires a change to the Breach of Trust by a Public Official section of the Criminal Code of Canada, such that conviction of the misuse of public funds is to be automatically considered a breach of trust by a public official and is automatically an indictable criminal offence punishable by a mandatory jail sentence of at least 14 years in a federal penitentiary.

What kind of respect do the party leaders and their parties have for the Canadian electorate. In my opinion, when Stephen Harper dropped the writ for the election back in August, to allow his party to spend more money on the campaign, he was literally slapping the faces of the Canadian electorate, saying we were all so stupid that all his party required was enough time and enough money spent to get us to vote for the Conservatives again, regardless of the Conservative past performance, including criminal wrongdoings. The secrecy surrounding the details of the Trans Pacific Trade agreement and its potential negative impacts on certain segments of the Canadian economy, and the attempt to push it through as a done trade deal prior to the outcome of this current election, again brings Mr. Harper's respect for the Canadian electorate into serious question.

When Lori Baldwin-Sands said the Liberals voted to support Bill C-51 because it was going to pass anyway, I was appalled that it could be considered a reason for supporting a bill which does allow police to arrest a person without a warrant of the basis that they may commit an act of terrorism or are likely to commit an act of terrorism - theoretical constructs which completely negate the presumption of innocence guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (a document brought into law by Justin Trudeau's father, Pierre Elliott). To support such a bill shows a complete lack of respect for one of the most important pieces of legislation on the books of Canadian Law.

Sadly, on the economic front, the national debt seems to have been lost in the focus when it comes to deficit financing. None of the candidates knew the current level of our net national debt, which in August 2015 sat at $616,402,590,588.25 CDN or $17,242.22 per person for every man, woman and child of Canada's 37.75 million population.

Greece has been a classic example of how imprudent deficit financing by governments can bankrupt even a county. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau plans 3 more years of deficit financing to "invest" in Canadian infrastructure. While such deficit financing has proven in the past to stimulate the economy, would it not be far more prudent to make that investment within a balanced budget structure - as proposed by the Tom Mulcair NDP party - than to do it by going further into debt? In my opinion, Mulcair's promise of a balanced budget which includes necessary infrastructure spending, and his opposition to Bill C-51, show more respect for the Canadian electorate than either Harper or Trudeau.

Opposition parties have run commercials that the Harper government is cutting $36 billion from health care. In her interview, Conservative candidate Karen Vecchio is correct that it is really just a smaller increase year over year than has been given in recent years. $36 Billion in Health Care Cuts. However, what remains questionable is Stephen Harper's commitment to the preservation of universal public health care [A Party of One by Michael Harris].

So which way do I vote, which way do you vote? I'd say it requires a lot more personal research on the part of each of us and asking a lot more hard questions of the candidates competing for our votes. How we vote will very much affect everyone in our riding, and in our country, so vote wisely.

Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2016 12:22:35 PM EST

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