At this point in the election campaign, voters probably feel wearied by the dance of the major parties around the real issues.
So far, I have attended three all-candidates meetings, and the big questions have yet to be answered, let alone raised.
Here are a few questions every voter should be asking:
• Why is the prime minister in denial that his government fell on the Speaker’s and the House’s finding of contempt (not on the budget)? The foundational rule of a Westminster-styled parliament is that the government must maintain the confidence of the House in order to retain office.
• Why are we being threatened by the prime minster that we must give him a majority or else? The duty of those forming government is to respect the choices made by the electorate, and to run with them.
• Why has the prime minster turned his back on faith groups working for peace? After the Kairos-CIDA contract cancellation, 10 leaders of the Catholic, United, Anglican, Lutheran, Reform and other Christian groups wrote the PM asking for a meeting so their relationship could be repaired. That letter was written Jan. 10, 2010. They’re still waiting for a reply.
• Why did all Conservative members oppose Bill-300, which would have set standards for Canadian resource companies operating in underdeveloped countries? Michael Ignatieff absented himself from that vote.
• Why does our government promote asbestos exports, when we know the stuff is deadly?
• How could our salmon ecology here be different than that of Norway, Scotland and Ireland? Those countries tried to mix netted and wild salmon, and destroyed the latter.
• Should we allow oil tankers on our coast? The House of Commons voted to ban them.
• Do we really need another coal mine? Coal is the major source of greenhouse gas.
• Why is the Harper government so keen on selling coal and bitumen to China? It used China’s huge carbon footprint to justify backing out of any climate treaty. In fact, China is now transitioning to sustainable energy faster than most countries.
• Why are we not seriously investing in sustainable energy? One way or another, the fossil fuel economy will certainly not just go on.
• Why did Harper and Jim Flaherty both assert we had no banking crisis, while their government borrowed $69.35 billion to buy up illiquid assets from the banks?
• Who has a real plan to escape our structural deficit? According to an IMF report issued April 12, Canada’s public debt-to-GDP ratio is higher than that of Portugal.
• Now that we have the lowest corporate tax rates among G8 nations, why lower them further? Lower Canadian tax rates have no benefit for multinationals based in the US; whatever they save in Canadian taxes is owed to the U.S. tax system.
• How can we reform our tax system to stop widening economic inequalities? This economic gap underlies most of our social ills.
• Why did Tax Freedom Day come three days later in 2010 than 2009?
• Why is every index of leisure, culture, population health, democratic engagement, community vitality, and living standard, why are all lagging behind the rise of our GDP index?
And finally, how will we explain to our grandchildren when they ask us, “What were you thinking?”