Listen to what your constituents want

It’s officially election season in Canada. You know, that time of year where the major parties try to buy your vote with your own money and the minor parties struggle to prove their relevance to the Canadian electorate.

In just the two-week final run-up to this official election, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal party made 925 spending commitments totalling $7.8 billion (with a B) of our future tax dollars for projects dear to the heart of voters across the country. Keep in mind, of course, to use a sports analogy, this is only pre-season, and as every sports fan knows, pre-season doesn’t matter. Except in this case, it does matter because it’s our money.

In the first two weeks of this campaign, the three major parties have each had multiple daily announcements of new programs and incentives and largesse designed to woo the undecided over to their side. What we have NOT seen, is a plan designed to lower debt or reduce spending in order to help bring the books back in line. As any householder knows, balancing your budget takes both a reduction of expenses as well as an increase in income and governments are no different. While unpopular with most, cuts in spending are critical to an improved bottom line.

In 2015, candidate Trudeau was famously (and only partially correctly) quoted as saying, “the budget will balance itself.” Forward to four years later and as expected, that has proven to be incorrect. In this election, “sunny ways” are out the window and Mr. Trudeau seems to be consumed with running against two people who aren’t even running against him, namely former PM Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Doug Ford. On the other “side” of the political spectrum, Conservative leader Andrew (It is Andrew isn’t it?) Scheer seems to be just attempting to get people to notice him and to discover that he’s not Stephen Harper. The NDP meanwhile, is attempting to maintain relevance against an increasingly popular (in certain circles) Green Party. Some pundits feel that the NDP and Greens are essentially the same party with similar platforms, but wearing different coloured coats. If Mr. Singh doesn’t do well and holds onto the NDP’s traditional third place standing, this will certainly be the end of his leadership.

We have seen leaders and candidates “fighting” for us, and “buckling down” all the while “standing up”. Anyone who has put on a pair of shoes will attest that buckling up while simultaneously standing up is a difficult feat at best. And why are they always fighting? Are we electing a class bully or a boxing champion to represent us? Or would we rather elect someone who sits down and attempts to work together with like-minded people to achieve goals that house our homeless, feed our poor and heal our veterans. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see the PM rise in the house and introduce a Bill and have the other parties say “there are some things in there we really like, but here are some suggestions on how to improve it” rather than hooting like a collection of eight-year-olds on a sugar buzz. And how equally astonishing would it be for the same PM to listen and say, yes, we can make some of those changes.

In business, we are taught not to bad mouth our competitors but instead to demonstrate why your product or service is better.

Here’s my challenge to the candidates in Skeena; stop standing up and sit down, shut up and listen. Listen to what your constituents want and need, not what your parties want you to say.

When you’re done sitting down, then stand up and tell me, and otherss in Skeena what you’re going to do for us, and how you’re going to buckle down and do it. Maybe then will I vote FOR someone as opposed to voting AGAINST someone else.

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