If you find yourself dismayed and exasperated at the tone of discourse surrounding the 2019 Canadian federal election – you are not alone.
This election has been fraught with partisan polarization, character attacks, wedge issues and perhaps an unprecedented focus on personality politics – without the same amount of attention on policies and defining the issues that we as Canadians feel are of the greatest priority to address.
If you, dear reader, find yourself full of hate for either Justin Trudeau, or Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Maxime Bernier or Elizabeth May – well then, we would like to ask you, why?
Does the hatred and animosity that is being stoked by all sides of this debate, and sources outside our country intent on causing discontent and chaos, actually accomplish anything? Or is it a reflection of your own personal circumstances and trying to find a place to put the blame for your own frustrations?
As Maya Angelou said, hate has never solved any problems, but it sure has caused a lot of them.
Maybe it is a pipe dream to want federal politics to be focused on what brings us together and makes us all stronger across this diverse country. That government's job should be to make life better for Canadians.
But the question becomes who's daily life needs improving – or what issues should be a focus of government and a priority for change or improvement?
That is where we as a country get hung up on – who's concerns are the priority and what are the best solutions to address them.
Each region, and each segment of the political spectrum, vary on these points. In B.C., concerns about the effects of climate change, increased tanker traffic on the coast and the Trans-Mountain Pipeline rise to the top.
In Alberta, there is discontent around how our province is treated by federal politicians in Ottawa, and a major economic downturn tied to the prices of our resource based economy to recover from. Those resources, pulling them out of the ground and transporting them, just so happen to be one of the concerns many Canadians have in relation to climate change as well.
Foreign policy and trade, immigration, agriculture, housing policies, women's rights, veterans and how First Nations are treated within Canada can all be added to the list of issues Canadians would like to see leadership on – we just don't all agree on what direction that should take.
On the brink of the election next Monday (Oct. 21), it appears that a minority or coalition government might be what we end up with and perhaps that's what we deserve. Because nothing forces political parties and their leaders to compromise and cooperate than exactly that – an inability of us as Canadians to collectively agree at the ballot box on who should be entrusted with leadership of our country and its future.
Maybe this is what we need to set hate aside and challenge ourselves to just disagree – without getting stuck in the emotional maelstrom we are being manipulated into by each side and those intent on disruption of our democratic systems. Let's meet each other as equal – as human beings who all deserve dignity and the freedoms we are guaranteed in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Not enemies, not deserving of hatred or derision and ridicule. As Canadians – who from far and wide stand on guard for thee – no matter who you are, where you come from, what faith you practice, the colour of your skin or your sexual orientation.