Thursday, September 11, 2008

Danny Williams Is Dead Wrong

Premier Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador represents everything that is wrong with Canadian politics.

I don't pretend to be familiar with a local of Danny's domestic policies. Apparently, they're doing pretty well on the Rock these days, so he must be doing something right. The way in which Williams is injecting himself into this federal election campaign, though, is absolutely wrong.

First of all, Williams insists that his caucus members "declare themselves" either as with or against his "ABC" (Anyone But Conservatives) movement. Essentially, he wants them to "out" themselves. How lonely do you think that 1 caucus member who refused to declare himself feels?

The bigger problem, here, is the notion of an "Anybody But _______" movement at all. All too often, Canadians go to the polls not sure who they're voting FOR, only that they are dead set AGAINST a certain party.

"I've got to keep Harper from getting a majority."

"I'm voting against those damn, crooked Libranos..."

"I'm sure not going to vote for those commie NDP idiots..."

Nation, voter participation levels are dropping across the country. One of the root causes of this, in light of this recent trend, should be self-evident: People in Canada don't vote FOR anyone, because they don't believe they have anyone TO vote for. They vote Tory because they hate the Liberals. They vote Green to spite the Tories. The campaigns embrace this, and advertise to appeal to these voters - "vote for us, we hate Dion, too". Maybe they voters are getting informed, and not finding a candidate they feel they can get behind. Maybe they're not finding a party leader who appeals to them. But if either of those is true, the parties are dropping the ball, and it's something they need to remedy sooner rather than later.

This is lazy politics... "vote against Harper, because he's a jerk.". Williams has spent the last 2 years foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of Harper's name. Every time he spouts off about the Tories, it loses more and more effectiveness, until eventually people will just tune him out. But the most insidious suggestion of Danny Williams is that "it doesn't matter who you vote for, as long as it's not Stephen Harper".

I'd think, as a sitting politician, Danny Williams would be very MUCH aware of the fact that it does, in fact, matter who you vote for. As Premier of a burgeoning oil-producing province, Williams should take a good, long look at the Green Shift before he tells people who they should vote for, or against.

Topping this off, of course, is the fact that it's a fundamentally cowardly act to tell people not to vote for one party without instead endorsing another. If you've got 4 parties running and you attack one of them, the other 3 are happy with you. If you have true courage of your convictions, have the guts to stand up and SUPPORT one of those parties, earning the ire of the other 3. Make a compelling case for the party you feel will make your constituents' lives BETTER, instead of jumping up and down, trying to tell them that Stephen Harper will make their lives worse.

And by the way, Danny, the people of Newfoundland are smart enough to know that it's not good political analysis and a hard look at the federal parties and their policies that have you speaking out against the Tories - it's a personal grudge.

Stop being lazy, Danny. If you want to play in the federal field, take the time and show the courage to study the parties and make a recommendation to your people about who they should vote FOR. You're their elected leader - stop acting like a pouting 6 year-old, and lead them TO somewhere... after all, Moses didn't just point, and tell his people to run, in any direction they chose, out of Egypt - he led them in a uniform direction, to the Promised Land.

... and they followed him for 40 years, Danny. You could be the next Joey Smallwood yet.


Deb Prothero said...

You're spot on, of course.

But you have to admit for junkies, Danny is mildly entertaining at the least. The rest of Canada is probably tuning the whole thing out as you've pointed out.

It's our job as bloggers to get back to basics and tell people who to vote for and get our eyes off the candy.

Anonymous said...

Where are the human rights activits who should be up in arms over this. A person's vote is private and Williams has not right to ask his caucus whom they support. Someone should be hauling him in front of a human rights tribunal.