If You Didn’t Put Up, Shut Up

For the past four months, Canadians have either been anticipating or been actively engaged in a federal election.

Unlike our America Cousins, we don’t draw these things out. We like to campaign quick, vote in October and get back to important things like hockey.

This election was frustrating. Unlike your Grade 7 Social Studies class on government, there were few defined and costed platforms that really landed with voters. No need to talk about hearing what Canadians want and certainly no creative ideas coming from “leaders”. However, there were plentiful jabs, slanderous comments and stomach churning commercials “endorsed” by full grown adults even though the content was beyond immature.

One good thing about the day after the election is you get to see how many people showed up to vote.

This year it was only 66% of us.

This makes me think of people around the world who walk for days if not weeks just for the opportunity to vote in their election. People die to fight for the right to vote. Women in this country protested and died for the right to vote IN THIS COUNTRY.

And almost half of us didn’t. Even. Bother.

Shame on you if you didn’t. Kudos if you did.

It’s tiring listening to people rant about politics and not taking action when the opportunity presents itself. It’s even more frustrating because we are so critical of the U.S. political reality; the non stop election cycle; the immature name calling and lies.

I think Canadians can do better. Until we demand better, we can expect no better from our “leaders”. With a minority government we have roughly 18 to 24 months until we get back on this merry-go-round.

So let’s do better. All of us.

LETTERS THAT NEED TO BE WRITTEN – PART VI

Dear Supreme Court of Canada,

Today marks the start of the hearings regarding assisted suicide in Canada. First of all, I thank you for FINALLY addressing this matter. It’s only been 21 years since the last time it came up. In that time, millions of Canadians have died, and many of them could have benefitted from an assisted suicide option.

I have watched both my grandmothers, my grandmother-in-law, an uncle, mother-in-law, and my father die. It is easy to decide that assisted suicide is a distasteful thing to discuss while in the prime of your life, while you are healthy and when you feel death is years if not decades away.

However, when you are sitting at the bedside of a loved one; when you have a desperate feeling of helpless when they ask for assistance; when you become so low that you actually pray for them to die РTHAT is the moment when you realize how truly necessary this conversation, even this legislation, is.

The Baby Boomers are getting older and it’s a decision that we need to commit to, or be prepared for a further increase in suicide rates. Frankly, I don’t want to have another person I love have to struggle with pain, disease and fear. I wouldn’t want them to feel that was the only option for them.

There are those who fear this intervention being introduced to Canada, however, several other countries have had it in place without serious repercussions. (I’m looking at you Switzerland, Belgium and Netherlands!) If we can address Mental Health concerns, specifically through a screening process, and the patient can be cleared by more than one physician, then why would the government, indeed society, try to dictate how a person leaves this world?

It’s certainly something I have a difficult time with.

Sarah

Letters That Need to Be Written IV

Dear Stephen Harper aka Canada’s Bully,

I have just this evening viewed the filth commercial broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, or should I say, the Stephen Harper Support Group, which bashes Justin Trudeau, the recently elected leader of the Liberal Party.

This would be my shortest communication ever, if I was to say “Smarten the hell up!”, but I feel I should expand on this somewhat.

First of all, in a day and age when bullying in the classroom, playground and arena is at an all-time high, can we really expect anything of our children, when our elected officials, indeed adults and purported “leaders” are guilty of such childish behaviour?

Your commercial criticizes Justin Trudeau for his background as a teacher, and a camp counsellor. How clever, because NO ONE would have thought that working with children was a lower calling. You seem to think that a strip tease is Trudeau doffing his suit jacket and shirt at a recognized fundraiser. I’m gonna help you out here, don’t Google “Magic Mike.”

It seems fairly evident that you are a little threatened by this supposed upstart. I can understand why. You have sampled all of the political parties (starting with the Liberals yourself in your University days, followed by the Reform Party of Canada – what a swell bunch, and finally the Conservative Party, which you felt the need to rebrand as “The Harper Government” once elected). Perhaps the fact that Trudeau has been a dedicated and loyal member of his party is threatening to you.

No one would blame you for being intimidated by someone 12 years your junior, and who received 80% of his party’s support in the first vote. Then there is the obvious; in our society, a man who is young, attractive, articulate and open to new ideas is much more appealing than a man, uh, hmm…. who isn’t.

Let’s face it, your brand of “leading”, which more closely resembles “dictatorship” is dated. Your regime would fit in nicely with Diefenbaker’s. Welcome to the 21st Century, where taxpayers like more support for the Environment, the Arts, Education and a little less importance on supporting your corporate cronies.

I would like to say that I believe our government can do better, and show leadership, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Although we are years away from an election (unfortunately), you have authorized attack-style election ads. Do you really thing the Canadian voter is that simple? It’s not our style. It never will be.

Why not earn your office through integrity, innovation and class, instead of degrading yourself and smearing the competition? Why not try to relate to the people you govern? And I don’t mean by playing The Beatles. All you have to do is look South to see a man elected to the highest office who people can identify with. Canada has become the laughing-stock of the free world, thanks to RoboCalls. But at least you were able to throw an intern under that bus.

What it comes down to is a bully has to put others down to feel better about themselves. If this week is any indication, I wonder how low your opinion is of yourself.

Yours in Democracy,

Sarah