Cynics and Politics


It’s fall here, which means rain, pumpkins and indoor activities. Not my favourite time of year. I just don’t like putting on all these layers of clothes and Clare always has ‘nothing to wear’ when it gets cold and miserable outside. The last couple of days were crystal clear and crisp and apparently October 10th was the coldest in BC in a 123 years. Yikes.

‘Another couple of weeks and the election circus is over. What are your predictions,’ I asked Camp who was reading the local paper. ‘No Muriel today? I said, looking around.

‘She is busy canvassing,’ he replied cryptically.

‘Oh, for the greens?’ I asked, assuming that Muriel would favour them against all others.’

‘Nope, for the NDP. She likes Jagmeet and his message.’

‘Tax the rich to finance more social programs?’

‘What’s wrong with that?’ Camp bristled. ‘The rich – those who own over 20 million – none in my circle of acquaintances – will pay a one percent tax and with that they will finance universal pharmacare, a dental plan and childcare. A wealth tax is something most people, even some of the wealthy, can agree on and I don’t believe that spending some of that money locally instead of investing it in tax havens would slow down the economy.’

‘A rather tall list of promises,’ I said, ‘and you’d be hard pressed to find common people opposed to all that but is it realistic?’

‘Let’s face it, the NDP will not form the next government but maybe they will be a force to be reckoned with in a minority government.’

‘And then there is Maxime Bernier’s The Peoples Party.’

‘The climate change deniers?’

‘Well, they claim to be on the side of science that says that galactic radiation, solar flares and volcanoes are the culprits and we humans have little or no impact on the climate. They don’t want to scare the kids, they say.’

‘According to the World Resources Institute Canada’s share of global emissions decreased from 1.8% in 2005 to 1.6 in 2014. Compare that to China’s 24% and the US’s 14%. We are a pretty small player.’

‘We still must do our part. Doing nothing is not an option even if the only thing we can do for the environment is not electing the conservatives.’

‘Did you watch the leader’s debate on Monday?’ I asked Camp.

‘I watched some of it with Muriel and was impressed by Jagmeet, disgusted by Scheer and his mean spirited promise to reduce foreign aid by 25%. Scheer’s ignorant of the fact that most foreign aid mostly comes right back in contracts and purchases.  Scheer’s mantra of leaving more money in your pocket can only be achieved by cutting taxes and services. It’s a zero sum game. The only good part is that Bernier’s party will cut into the Torie’s vote and I was impressed with May’s grasp of issues and political history. Mind you some refer to the Greens as conservatives who recycle.’

‘What about the Liberals? Trudeau promised election reforms, a universal pharmacare and childcare program but instead he bought a pipeline, interfered with the justice minister and then fired her. A lot of broken promises.’

‘He’s too busy defending personal wardrobe choices, while Scheer, a US citizen might have to take time out from being prime minister to fight in the US’s next war, maybe in Iran or Turkey.’

‘A bit far fetched but an entertaining thought,’ Camp said.

‘And finally, who will you be voting for?’ I asked.

‘In our riding a vote for the NDP or the Greens is a vote for the conservatives since neither have the chance to win. I drove through West Vancouver and did not see one NDP sign along the road, therefore I’ll vote for the local guy who makes the most sense and so far I like Dana, who is running for the Greens and I believe was the former candidate for the Marijuana party.’

‘You’re confusing Dana Taylor with Dana Larson,’ I said. ‘Two entirely different people.’

‘Oh, I guess I need to take a second look,’ Camp said, hiding his embarrassment with a large sip from his pint.

‘The good news is that Canadian politics looks like an arm wrestling competition in compare to a UFC fight in the US,’ I said.

‘I prefer polite and respectful over vicious, and friendly over mean spirited, and honesty over lying.’

‘That calls for a second round. Let’s drink a glass to the honest, polite and friendly politicians, which does not include either Scheer or Bernier,’ Camp said.

Let’s find out what Vicky thinks of this election,’ I said. She was already on her way with two fresh pints.

‘The election? I’m a bit cynical and will probably just stay home,’ she said.

‘You’re too young to be cynical,’ Camp said. ‘Cynicism has to be earned with age and experience.’

‘I’m just a young sceptic who doesn’t believe anything anybody promises in order to get elected so they can make rules for me and then tell me to pay for their ideas from my meagre pay check.’

‘A true cynic indeed,’ Camp said.

‘He thought the local Green’s candidate used to run for the Marijuana party,’ I said, pointing a finger at my friend, ‘just because his first name is Dana.’

‘Come to think of it, I might vote NDP,’ Vicky said, ‘at least their promises are what everybody wants but nobody ever gets, kind of like a Santa Clause list.’

‘Ho, ho, ho,’ Camp and I both laughed.

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