Saturday, November 19, 2005

DIY election platforms

In a recent musing, Warren Kinsella characterizes Toronto Star columnist Jim Travers as "one of PMO's last remaining messenger boys." And yet in today's column, Travers lays out the reasons to throw the Martin gang out.

In a subtle dig at Kinsella, Travers calls it the century's "first do-it-yourself election." Kinsella, of course, waxes poetic in his recent book Fury’s Hour about DIY culture in the punk movement.

Travers comes up with these gems:

… democracy only works when votes are used as sticks to beat discipline into politicians who mistake the public purse for their own.


After years of demonizing Conservatives as secret agents for Ralph Klein and two-tier health care, Liberals are suddenly silent as Jean Charest speeds the country toward different systems for rich and poor. Even a watershed Supreme Court decision undermining Ottawa's health insurance monopoly has left strangely speechless a government more concerned with repairing its ruined Quebec brand than defending public health care.


Martin believes in asymmetrical federalism but, apparently, not enough to debate or defend it. Canada is under renovation without a blueprint and that justifies showing Liberals the door.


Decisions are tightly held in Martin's innermost circle, the promise to make MPs strong enough to do their job is broken, and tracking how taxes are spent is as intentionally difficult as ever.

Canadians recognize the problem and are applying a solution. They treat the federal government with the disdain it's earned and, come election day, record numbers will vote with their feet by staying home.

The few who still care have no shortage of other planks to build their DIY-platforms. From protecting privacy to reaching the Canada-created international aid threshold, there is plenty of rough stuff to finish the job.Now seems a good time to start.

Even Kinsella can't argue with that.