I got called today by the local Conservative riding association to ask if I’d put up a lawn sign for Elie Salibi, the Conservative candidate in my riding. This isn’t a surprise in and of itself as I have been a long time Conservative party member.
However, I have declined to support the party with a sign, and so far financially, this time around. I know they check blogs, so maybe they’ll find this, and just maybe there’s an infinitesimal chance they’ll get the message.
First off, let me say that I am sure Elie Salibi is a nice man. I have no doubt that he’ll do at least a passable job of representing this riding. Of course, the incumbent Liberal candidate (David McGuinty) does a passable job too. I sort of assume that the NDP and Green candidates are too full of woo-woo to do anything useful.
So why not support the guy?
Well, there are a few reasons. This is the first and foremost: Bill C-61, one of the worst written pieces of legislation that I have seen proposed in a LONG time. I must be clear on this… I do not support music and video piracy, I have no problem with punishing pirates (including kids) and I fully understand the concept of intellectual property. However, I also understand concepts like “fair use”. I do not believe that the rights of an intellectual property owner extend to telling my HOW and WHEN I can use the intellectual property that I pay to use. I have a problem with a law that makes the punishment for electronic copying stiffer than physically stealing the same material. Bill C-61 was an abomination that crushes consumer rights, damages academic freedom, and would give greedy industry associations (not artists) a massive weapon to compel monies from consumers and pocket it themselves. Google up Bill C-61 and you can read plenty of discussion about it, so I won’t lengthen this post with it here… Suffice it to say that the TABLING of this bill has cost the Conservative party my support in this election, and they will have to campaign to get it back. If, after the election, this bill comes back in a form that is not severely altered to be fair to consumers, it would be highly unlikely that I would vote Conservative or support the party financially for a long, long time if ever again. I’m serious when I say that a reissue of this bill or a substantially similar bill could cause me to vote NDP… that’s how strongly I feel about this particular issue. I might come home from the poll and need 4 hours in the shower after I did it, but I’d vote NDP before I see Bill C-61 passed. (There’s one for you, Trashy 🙂 )
Second… Tax breaks for the arts. Much has been in the news during this campaign about arts funding and taxation. Personally, if the government never spent another dime on funding artists, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. I think art is a personal thing and the government should have no hand in it. I know that my opinion on this is extreme and not representative of the majority of Canadians. Fine, I can live with that. But if the arts are going be funded, then I demand that they be funded fairly. Bill C-10 was a not-very-thinly veiled attempt to bring back old-school censorship to Canadian arts. Financially speaking, I am quite conservative… but I cannot abide the government limiting free speech. If arts are to be give special tax status, then give that status for everyone, or give it to no one, but the government should not be sitting in judgement of what is and is not “worthy” art. A Conservative government should tread carefully on this matter because many people, not just the granolas, are watching this carefully. I would never support a candidate, party, or government that would sit in judgement on the worthiness of some bit of art to receive tax dollars.
Of course, there is always the flagrant disregard of the election law that the Conseravtives themselves passed. Sure, it’s good, old-fashioned, in-your-face hypocrisy… something the Conservative party is good at. They don’t beat around the bush about it like the Liberals or NDP. But really… why pass a fixed election date law and then ignore it. That makes the every Conservative member look like a special kind of asshole: as a minimum, it wasted the time and salary of every person who participated in the drafting, debating and passing of the fixed election date law and revealed that the Conservative party can’t even respect their OWN legislation. At worst, it demonstrates that Conservatives are untrustworthy and hyporcritical… unworthy for office. I lean toward the lighter interpretation because I think that ALL politicians have a naturally spinning moral compass that tends to point wherever they need it to. That doesn’t make it right, of course, but I can shrug and say “that’s the nature of the beast”. Hell, I lived in British Columbia for a long time, where crazy, drunk, or crooked were never a barrier to a successful political career. Nevertheless, the Harper Conservatives deserve to be pinned on it.
I do sort of think that the Conservatives would probably form the best government but I’m not convinced that the best government will be GOOD government. I want good government. When I want to be governed by malicious zealots, I can always move to the USA.
So, Conservative Party, explain yourselves. Give me a good, logical answer about why I should support you, and I probably will. The ball is wholly in your court. I guarantee you that I will vote on October 14 for someone. It’s up to you to convince me that “someone” should be you.
And if you are the Liberal party (David McGuinty), the NDP (Hijal De Sarkar), Green (Qais Ghanem), Libertarian (Jean-Serge Brisson), or Progressive (Al Gullon) do not think for a second that you’re any closer to winning my vote either. You have to convince me that your vision is sound, logical, and better than the Conservative’s vision. And here’s a hint – if your vision involves taking more money out of my pocket and giving it to anyone else, you’ve already dug the hole about waist deep.
Good luck, and may the best man win.