13 October 2015

Canadian election blues - and reds and oranges

In my case, it's actually orange. The New Democratic Party aka the NDP. I've never been shy about telling people how I'm voting. I chose a party, not a candidate or a leader. So I usually vote NDP, regardless of where I live or whom my vote will elect (or not). I've voted Liberal and Green in the past. I briefly considered voting Liberal again this October 19th, because I wanted to vote for change more than I wanted to vote for my preferred party. When I read polling data that suggested my local NDP MP would be most likely re-elected, I quickly shifted back to familiar territory.

I'm open to changing up my vote. But I've never voted Conservative. I'm quite sure I never will, but this past election has really opened my eyes, not just about politics, but about how we deal with this topic on an interpersonal level.

I've never voted Conservative and I always thought people who did were rich and entitled and sheltered and selfish. Often with their heads in the sand about climate change and social inequality. I thought they were greedy people who only cared about propping up an economy slanted heavily towards the one per cent. But I've discovered that this is not a dividing line between good and evil. Or more realistically, a swirled mix of good, mostly good, and marginally apathetic, with a stark royal blue evil on the other side.

This election I've been talking with friends and family members who have voted Conservative and will continue to do so. I used to think everyone felt the same way I did about most mainstream political issues. I used to wonder how Conservatives were getting elected if nobody was voting for them. Fraud? Low voter turnout? Witchcraft? Voodoo?

Real people with nice families and good intentions are voting Conservative. Some people want a tough stance on crime. Some people believe terrorists are a genuine threat to Canada. Some have slightly misguided thoughts on immigration. Some are concerned that taxing high earners and corporations fairly would be a problem. I'm not an economics expert, so I can't debate extensively on that front, although I do believe in fair taxes for individuals and corporations, accessible higher education and reasonable unions.

Clearly, my views are biased when it comes to politics. I want change. I want to buy a home (notice I didn't say 'house' since I'm being realistic here) and I want my kids to have everything they need (not want). I don't know how things are going to turn out after this election. I am glad that this time around I have a more holistic sense of how and why things are happening in the political landscape of my country. I can agree to disagree. I can accept different views. And most importantly, I can still hope for the best.