Opposition parties typically heap blame for anything and everything on the government in power. In turn, they promise that they alone can fix all the problems. Both claims are disingenuous, at best.
Still, that’s politics 101, where honesty is left at the door upon entering the fray.
In the US, that was clearly on display with this week’s State of the Union address and the machinations that followed. Here, we’ve got Pierre Poilievre insisting to all who’ll listen that Canada is broken, and he’s got more than a few people on his side. Canadians have plenty to grumble about, and the virtue signalling coming from the PMO makes it easier for the Conservative leader to spread the word.
Prompted by Poilievre’s statement, Leger set about polling Canadians about whether or not the country is broken. Some two-thirds agreed with that statement, with half of us angry about the way Canada is being managed today. That’s not surprising given the state of the economy, especially the cost of living: 68 per cent of Canadians report that rising costs and inflation/interest rates are most important when it comes to the issues impacting them and their families.
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Poilievre’s job has been made easier by the fact the bloom is very much off the rose where Justin Trudeau is concerned. Much of that is of his own doing, as he’s seen as more concerned about virtual signalling – the likes of carbon taxes – and his international posture than in solving real-world problems.
There’s not a plethora of better choices in opposition, but one would have to think the Liberals must be contemplating a leadership change prior to the next election.
The reality is we suffer from a dearth of good leaders. Even passable ones. That’s true from the federal government right on down to the local level.
This is not about charisma or the ability to give rousing speeches. No, proper governance means looking out for the public good rather than the interests of a few, whether that’s the donors, the lobbyists or the self-serving politicians and bureaucrats themselves.
Trudeau hasn’t managed to turn his initial popularity into anything more than photo ops, platitudes, an endless string of apologies and spending designed to buy votes from a gullible populace.
He, like all the other party leaders, is busy flinging poop, hoping for something, anything to stick. Unfortunately, instead of dismissing all of it as useless vote-buying nonsense, we give credence to the endless stream of promises, half-truths and blatant lies.
When politicians routinely act like they know better than us, that really gets our collective goat. Worse still, they start to believe that they are better than those they govern.
It’s an imperious attitude – and actions that show flagrant disregard for the public good, as we’re seeing now from most governments – that has historically led us to be perfectly fine with watching leaders get what they deserve, often with extreme prejudice.
A revolutionary spirit – the willingness to do away with those who have lost any moral claim to power, despite attempts to hold it by force (see the rise of today’s police state here and in other countries) – that defines our modern democracy. Only that kind of grassroots movement is likely to affect any real change.
Sure, things are much worse elsewhere, including in the United States, but we’re not immune to the unresponsive governance that shows callous disregard for the public good and consistently poor decisions federally, provincially and regionally.
In that way, Canada is broken. No one currently offering bromides has a real fix, however.