Appeared in the North Shore News – October 9, 2015
The Conservatives will win the election. Could get a majority.
They’ll win on the economy (the Globe and Mail recently ran a glowing double-page spread, declaring “the West Coast is on a roll” while “much of Canada’s economy sputters”).
They’ll win big on the terrorism and revoked citizenship issue — the big-city media buried the pulled citizenship of the leader of the Toronto 18, who merely planned to explode truck bombs in the city centre, and of another who plotted to decapitate staff of the (stupid, irresponsible) Danish paper that printed cartoons mocking Muhammad. Are the leftist parties and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association OK with defending convicted terrorists’ citizenship “rights”?
And they’ll win on the niqab issue at citizenship ceremonies, which Tom Mulcair absurdly linked to women’s rights.“They can wear anything they like,” intoned The Eyes, whose Marxist backroom backers’ manifesto, which a wit called Tommunism, was also hastily buried by the media.
Justin Trudeau is definitely attractive, especially striding up mountain slopes in his ads.
Stephen Harper will again be the choice of the old. They Twitter not, neither do they Facebook. They vote.
Even the young have had a bit of a leg-up. In this riding the job signs are up, from Blenz in Horseshoe Bay to Fresh St. Market and beyond. Outside a Tim Hortons pleading for help was a knot of loafing youth, brilliantly described by a veteran backroom Conservative as “work-deniers.”
And I believe Harper has a powerful ally: Harper-haters. Their viciousness goes beyond anything I have witnessed since, in junior reporter days, standing touching-distance from John Diefenbaker right after his stunning upset in 1956.
Example: The Vancouver Sun recently ran as its top-placed letter this missive by Geoff Snell, Richmond: “The Harper government is a lying, mean-spirited, vindictive, climate-change-denying, fundamentalist, immigrant-hating government, run by a two-faced, bitter, twisted little shell of a man.”
No paper in this land would run such a letter about a serial killer or murderer of his own children. Snell and his ilk are handing a lovely backlash to calmer voters.
Harper faces five opposition parties: Liberals, New Democrats, Bloc Quebecois, Greens, and CBC Radio.
Granted its charms, CBC Radio has a newsroom and public affairs staff that doesn’t even make a pretence of hiding its hatred of small- or cap-C conservatives.
Locally: Conservative John Weston has had to defend government actions, many unpopular — everyone in this country knows how to run the government, except those who actually do it — which he’s done civilly, a harder task of course than opposition parties having no record and gasbag promises.
Green Ken Melamed shamelessly pandered, at a West Vancouver secondary students’ meeting, to half-baked teen notions (we were all half-baked then; we may live long enough to be blackened by overcooking), advocating lowering the voting age to 16 (screaming applause) and legalizing pot and making it a rich business (rockin’ applause). Scratch Melamed.
As for his party, Elizabeth May is the real reactionary — the Greens are promising a creaky, olde-British Labourite-style guaranteed livable income, with no guaranteed national income of course, and free university tuition, the working poor and struggling new immigrants stuck with the bill.
The NDP’s Larry Koopman, a former drummer with a rock band, speaks valiantly among the polished pols, pretty hopelessly in this riding. And speaking of polished pols, there’s Pam Goldsmith-Jones.
She and I got off badly after her first mayoral victory when I reported a grumbler’s claim she was an unadmitted Liberal. Furious denial. Then the controversial term of police Chief Kash Heed, including his astonishingly loose talk about a criminal investigation to a West Vancouver Police Board member. When he resigned in February 2009, ex-officio WVPB chair Goldsmith-Jones claimed total surprise. So no severance, right? Lo, Heed emerged as a provincial Liberal candidate – and, shockingly, the board paid his salary until Election Day three months later, in May 2009. (Heed won but his campaign was fouled by illegalities. His political career was destroyed.)
Add: The secretive in-camera council allowing the “bus shelters” resisted by previous mayors. The reversal of her predecessor council’s vote on the Sea to Sky Highway improvement, protested right to jail time by some. The uproar over 500-odd dog violation tickets issued by a zealous bylaw officer: She called a meeting, some older dog-owners wept, she sympathized and many must have left thinking how nice she was, not noticing she offered no refunds … a textbook case of skilfully reaping political capital from disaster.
Back to the larger picture: In the voting booth people forget the national interest. They vote their personal interest. Canada’s story is rife with scandals, deals, favouritism. Essentially ungovernable, it has bungled along, but, under Harper and his predecessors, the people have laboured, largely prospered, and nobody is beating down walls and commandeering boats to flee to a better place.
© Trevor Lautens, 2015