Wednesday, June 09, 2004

on doing politics the Canadian way

What does it mean to be Canadian in Canada in 2004?

According to Paul Martin, it means voting Liberal.

For 11 years, the country’s Liberal government has begun to consider itself and its values the defining characteristics of that which is Canada.

We should know better.

It has become increasingly clear in recent months that Canada’s Liberal hegemony is destroying our country. Canada’s federal politics have been a one-party system in recent years, so much so that the government expected, at least until a few weeks ago, that their reign would continue uninterrupted.

As a proud Canadian, I have every intention of standing up for the values I espouse by going to the polls on June 28 – and NOT voting Liberal.

To be Canadian means to believe in diversity – diversity of culture and diversity of opinion.

It’s more than ok to be different in Canada. Diversity is encouraged, prized and celebrated, both in Canada and at York.

That’s why I won’t vote Liberal – because I won’t vote for a party that defines “Canadian” by political ideology or that wants me to think inside the red Liberal box. The Liberal party of Canada is jeopardizing Canada’s true values by their desire to be Canada’s sole voice.

York students have a lot of reasons to vote. OSAP is hard to get. We have futures in this country, and the decisions made this election will impact our post-secondary education and our lives in the workplace after York.

In many ways, things are not so great. The four major party leaders – Duceppe, Harper, Layton and Martin – are all blue-eyed white men. Female participation is lower than it should be.

But as Bob Dylan wrote, the times, they are a’changin.

Canadians are learning that every vote counts.

Canadians are sick of lies and broken promises and they are sick of the government taking baby steps, when any are taken at all. The Liberal party has proved themselves to be fickle, indecisive and adherent to no major values. They have done more bad than good in the last 11 years and don’t deserve their position of domination in Canada’s political system. Canadians are mobilizing for change, and demanding that the next government do a better job of running our country.

Every York student who has ever complained about OSAP, education, taxes or foreign policy has a duty and an obligation to vote on June 28. Every major party has a website – the information is out there. History has shown that every vote counts and every person matters.

Demand better transportation. Demand better student loan funding. Demand coherent, moral foreign policy. Use your voice, and demand a government that is responsive to you.

If you’re unhappy with the status quo, demand better.

- Editorial published June 9, 2004 in York University's Excalibur


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