Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Politics of Truth

I must confess that Canada's democratic process deeply saddens me. With our British parliamentary system, appointed senate and appointed judiciary, Canada has less democracy than any other industrialized country. The leader of the party that obtains the most seats in the election automatically becomes prime minister and then exercises more power than any other head of state - outside of monarchies or dictatorships.

On top of that, we seem to have inherited a distinctly American method of governance and campaigning. The current conservative party runs attack ads against the leader of the opposition on a non-stop basis - in spite of the fact that our election campaigns are only 30 days long. In the last election, the Conservative government broke the laws set down by elections Canada on campaign spending and has been no consequence.

And even worse, we have only one leadership debate in the entire election cycle where the misleading statements, half-truths and outright lies told by the various leaders can be examined and compared. That debate, which was held last night, contained a spectacle of leaders delivering facts about various events; the conservative attempt - under Stephen Harper - to form a minority coalition government in 2004, spending plans in the conservative budget and discussion about the way the Harper government has ignored the limited checks and balances in Canada's democracy. In response to all of these criticisms, Stephen Harper outright denied and misled on one point after another.

Now it is true that all politicians attempt to spin the facts to avoid responsibility - and it is true that I haven't voted conservative - at least since Preston Manning left the Reform party leadership - but I honestly believe that Harper is going to unprecedented lengths of outright dishonesty in order to maintain political power. If you don't believe me, take a look at the fact check below.

Of course, he does have a disadvantage. Reality seems to have a liberal bias (and I don't mean the Liberal party).

Reality Check: Fail Archives - Canada Votes 2011 - CBC News

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