Why We Should Be Worried About Democracy

I came across this blog posting a couple of days ago, where an NDP candidate reflected upon his campaign in the recent election: http://glenpearson.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/transitions-brutal-in-their-despondency/

This is strikes to the heart of what worried me the most about the election. From Harper’s reluctance to face the public and field questions, to pre-election smear campaigns run via tv commercials, to manufacturing public fears about crime and economic doomsday. The Conservatives have almost perfected campaigning in the 21st Century, where simple sound bites sent through the TV at a frequency that only money can buy creates an environment that overpowers the politician that tries to engage the public in a more honest type of debate.

I find it appalling that the Conservatives were spreading innuendo and falsities about Glen Pearson via a call center, all while Pearson was actually out in the community trying to meet and engage people. In my mind, this is American style Fox-News politics in the making, where all it takes is a bunch of $$, airtime and a loud mouth to make any ridiculous accusation become true.

I can accept that a majority of Canadians do not currently share my opinion of who’s budget is better, or exactly on what public spending should be targeted. What really bugs me is dishonest marketing used to sway people’s opinions, coupled with opportunistic policies that feed off of emotions like GST reductions and building prisons. The GST reduction was particlarly troublesome, as nearly every economist agreed that it was bad policy. Yet the Conservatives, who trump themselves as being the kingpins of economic policy, lowered the GST anyways because they knew it would get them votes. I guess that’s hold news now, but it speaks volumes to the principles the Conservatives hold.

Locally here in Vancouver this disturbing trend is replicating. Christy Clark, having seen the success of the Conservatives, has taken a page out their playbook. She is avoiding all public debates for her upcoming byelection. Let’s all hope she loses, if for no other reason than because of this.