Watching the English language federal election debate tonight I have a growing fear. I fear that Michael Ignatieff could be elected the next Prime Minister of Canada. I fear that the man trying to break up the country, separatist party leader Gilles Duceppe could be named the leader of the official opposition. You may not like Stephen Harper but what other options do we have? Jack Layton as leader of the NDP has returned the party from the point of near obscurity but stands no chance of leading this country.
At worst we will face a minority Conservative government. At best, Stephen Harper will be re-elected with a majority, Canada can continue to climb out of the worldwide recession as a leader in economic revival.
What Canada needs is a government to speed up its progress towards a balanced budget. There are times when it would be appropriate for a minority government to fall. Issues of urgency are obviously lacking, and as such, the elected officials have an obligation to the citizens of Canada to work together, setting aside partisan divides. This alone should be enough reason to vote against the opposition parties that brought down the government. This election is a waste of money, and a waste of time. The Liberal, BQ and NDP parties have yet to identify a critical public interest to justify an election.
Polls suggest today that 40% of the population will vote for the Conservative Party. The Liberal party is showing 31% of the nation's support. The NDP follows at 17%. The separatist BQ party follows with 7.8% (all from Quebec) and the Green Party settles in with 4%. The numbers have swayed slightly since the start of the campaigning with each party gaining or losing a percentage or two.
Does popular vote translate to getting officials elected? The BQ received 1.37 million votes in the 2008 election or only 38% of the popular vote in Quebec, yet managed to elect 49 officials out of the 75 available seats in Quebec. The vote split between federalist Liberal and Conservative parties, allowed the separatist BQ to back themselves into the House of Commons.
As for the actual debate, the opposition party leaders threw questions and accusations at Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper mostly concentrated on defending his strong economic reform and appeared to be addressing himself to the cameras, and therefore speaking directly to the people.
Ignatieff may be a stronger candidate than was Stephane Dion, but he is hardly the man to lead Canada. Aside from his repetitive refrain, his accusing the Prime Minister of "stiffing" Parliament was not appropriate. Ignatieff's scowl and repetitive accusations of lying, paints him as nothing other than a one trick pony and hardly prime ministerial in bearing.
Aside from Harper, the only other candidate who may have improved his numbers was Jack Layton. He was not perfect but a couple good lines (offering his cane to prop up the government) and his overall presence may present as an alternative to some.
It seems the participants changed tactics in the latter portion of the debate. Perhaps figuring that those viewers with short attention spans have since flipped channels and are now watching NCIS, or perhaps, The Biggest Loser. (There is a joke there). With the more serious and interested voters tuned in, the leaders stopped slinging insults at Prime Minister Harper and debated amongst each other. As I mentioned, I have issue with some of the language Ignatieff used. I can't tell you how to vote. But I will leave you with the old adage, vote early and - vote often.