Canada, Politics

Whichever candidate says 9/11 the most wins

Remember that episode of Family Guy where Lois runs for mayor? Remember how all she had say was “9/11” to get elected? I kind of felt like I was in the middle of that episode tonight.

Yeah, I went to the Thornhill candidates’ debate tonight. To my American friends who are unfamiliar with the Canadian electoral system, here’s a primer, courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia. The debate was, for the most part, enlightening in its boredom.

I’ll have a more detailed commentary on the debate tomorrow. For now, I’ll just share two things that I’m left thinking this evening:

1. If all community debates are similar to the one I attended, it’s no wonder voter turnout is so low. For the most part (with some notable exceptions), all the candidates did was egotistically tout their qualifications, attack each other, and spit out sound-bites (including Peter Kent using 9/11 as an ominous harbinger of the dangers lapping at Canada’s shores). To her credit, Karen Mock acknowledged that this was a reality of shorter debates and directed people to her and her party’s website for more details.

2. In Thornhill, if you don’t want to see the Conservatives’ Peter Kent elected, I now believe that there’s only one party to vote for, and that is the Liberal Party. I know (painfully) that many point to this as a sign of the unfortunate state of representative democracy in this country. It is sad. It is unfortunate. But the NDP and Green candidates just aren’t up to par. Only the Liberals are in a position to defeat the Conservatives in Thornhill, and this remains true on the Federal level as well.

More to come, tomorrow.

Canada, Israel, Politics

Identity Politics

Where was the Toronto Star three months ago, when I needed them to back me up? Now, after facing a small amount of backlash for my repeated arguments that the Conservative Party of Canada was able to win in my riding of Thornhill by attracting the votes of Jews who would vote for whichever party looked like they supported Israel more, Thomas Walkom – National Affairs Collumnist – has penned an article on ethnic voting and identity politics that backs up the very arguments I postited. Here’s an excerpt:

…In a world where no single party can command a majority of MPs, individual ridings become even more significant. And among some voters in some ridings, support for Israel is a make-or-break issue… Identity politics predates Confederation… In ridings where there is a significant Jewish population, this matters. Kent, for instance, may back Israel as a matter of deeply held principle. But if he did not, this might well hurt him in Thornhill, a riding that he narrowly won last year…

While this is pretty much a closed issue that I hadn’t intended on revisiting, the situation in the Israel and Gaza has brought it to light again. So thanks, Thomas. I couldn’t agree with you more!