Chosen to make the tough calls

Unlike most sane people, I spent Sunday afternoon watching the first Progressive Conservative Leadership Debate. Please keep reading. I promise it won’t be stale analysis.

If you didn’t see the debate (and you most likely did not), you didn’t miss much. As in many leadership debates, most candidates toed the party line and let phrasing draw a line between them.

Joe Clark, the elder statesman, at times acted as moderator to the exuberance of youth and inexperience. Candidates were subjected to the former Prime Minister’s tongue-lashings regarding how politics and its medium, government, actually work.

Something new for the new Tory Party is that instead of having only riding delegates vote for party leader, the vote will include every party member. One candidate painfully put forth that anyone older than 14 can help make the decision on the future Tory leader, thus giving it the feel of grass roots politics. God preserve us. If I’m correct that only a handful of Tories and masochistic commentators watched the leadership debate, then I’m positive there were no 14-year-olds in the audience. Mind you, this might explain why Joe Clark’s daughter has been so visible (visual) as of late.

Responding to a loaded question regarding treaty rights in British Columbia, Clark entered into brilliant but dangerous territory.

“Governments exist to solve complex problems, not to pass them on.”

Thank you Joe.

Populist forces, so prevalent in the West, want to hold a referendum on the issue of the Niska treaty. Negotiations gave a very good settlement to Natives, and whites generally consider it a bad thing. It’s obvious that a taxpayer rights movement would annihilate it.

The Alberta government’s move to take the Video Lottery Terminal question to referendum is a real life example of how BC. could solve its treaty problems. Give everyone, even Natives, an equal stake in making the decision. Then let Native rights get avalanched at the ballot box. Problem solved with a democratic vote and a clear conscience to boot.

What an interesting way to pass the buck. Why do we elect people at all if they are not supposed to make the tough decisions? Correct decisions are not always popular ones.

I hung out at last week’s campus Senate debate as candidates machine-gunned well-prepared responses. In conversation with a few well-dressed go-getters I discovered they cannot fathom my thinking. It is unbelievable to them that a person born in Calgary doesn’t believe in elected senators. Their first response to my challenge was a raised eyebrow and “Were you born in Ontario?” Then they started talking down to me-as I quite imagine they do to those among their ranks who are not familiar with political philosophy.

My idea of having all appointees go through a nomination process fell on deaf ears. Then they implied I was a communist and supported tyranny.

For them, the correct way to fix decision-making problems is to put more people on the job. The majority of people are always right. It’s the will of the people, or Volk, as the case may be. In the end it is a handy way of spreading the blame.

What’s the point of having a government if it cannot pass a bill without a majority referendum vote? Why not get a big data base that people can use to call in their vote on every issue of the nation’s business?

The government’s other job is to spend money. Everyone likes getting money, but nobody likes giving money. The population would never vote for a tax increase or a social program that would require funding, no matter how helpful or necessary.

People argue that government should be run like a business. If a business ran successive deficits it would be put out of business. This is ridiculous thinking. Things like traffic lights and many other essential public works rarely turn profits. They do their work off the meter.

Perhaps there should be IQ tests to obtain voting rights.

It is hard to believe that Joe Blow could get a good grasp on issues like inter-provincial trade or the intricacies of the Canada Pension Plan. What are the man on the street’s plans for debt reduction?

Some call this arrogance, but is it any more arrogant than Joe Average’s belief that he has as much understanding of government as a long serving member of parliament or a Supreme Court Justice?

So come October, if direct democracy doesn’t live up to your expectations, don’t blame me. I spoiled my ballot.

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