BY SCOTT BLINKHORN
Policy is, or at least should be, the heart and soul of politics. Why else would we send hundreds of people to Ottawa every four years to make decisions for us? Sadly, that is rarely the case. Often politics focus more on personality than on position.
In Canada, we know this as Trudeau-mania part two. To our cousins to the south of the border, it’s on full display in the clashes between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Trump is an easy target of course. His campaign’s main proposal is the infamous wall along the border with Mexico. It’s supposed to stop illegal immigration, which experts agree it will not. Never mind the insanity of his plan to make Mexico pay billions of dollars to construct it.
Clinton is little better, which is surprising for a candidate who has been in the political world for the majority of her life. During the Oct. 9 debate she spent most of her time explaining to America how revolting Trump’s personality is, as if it were not already obvious.
In Canada we often like to think we are immune from the failings of American politics. Sadly we are not. Shortly after the Liberals were elected with a majority in 2015, they announced that “Canada is back” – three words which sound nice when used together but have little substance.
The worst thing about all of this is that I can’t even blame politicians for being so light on policy, it’s not their fault, it’s ours. Rather than be treated like adults and be told what the plan to fix the nation is, we wanted to be coddled, to be reassured that Ottawa cares about our local festival, or that people abroad think of Canadians as peacekeepers and not peacemakers. The truth is that most people around the world don’t think much of anything about Canada, other than that its people are just so gosh darn nice and that they live in a frozen wasteland.
So is there any hope for policy to make a return to politics? In the United States I don’t see much chance of that in the near future, but in Canada, there may be. The race for the Conservative leadership has resulted in a number of policy suggestions, many of which are serious attempts at grappling with issues. Of course, there is still the populist claptrap, like Kelly Leitch’s nonsense about screening immigrants for “Canadian” values.
On a whole, I think there is reason to be hopeful that in the next election, in this country at least, there may be more talk about the issues affecting our nation than Trudeau’s hair.