North America is under siege by two simultaneous election campaigns. The gloves are off, and the politicians are scrapping. In the United States, Democrat Senator Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain are locking horns for the White House. In my eyes, Obama represents sweeping changes for the wartorn, debt-saddled country. McCain represents a continuation of Bush's pathetic legacy - the road to ruin. The Republicans have got to go.
Here in Canada, we have five leaders firing barbs at each other in a race for the Prime Minster's office. After being stuffed with turkey, we go to the polls on October 14 to vote in what is essentially an illegal election.
"Fixed election dates prevent governments from calling snap elections for short-term political advantage," Prime Minster Stephen Harper said on May 26, 2006. "They level the playing field for all parties and the rules are clear for everybody."
He went on to say that "fixed election dates stop leaders from trying to manipulate the calendar simply for partisan political advantage."
This is the right season, wrong year. The next election should be taking place in fall 2009. Harper broke his own law.
When someone cheats, there is a major breach of integrity and trust. The underlying principle is the same whether it's a guy cheating on a girl, or a politician cheating on his policies. Feelings are shattered and the trust is destroyed.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams' Anything But Conservative (ABC) campaign is starting to wear thin. He's becoming dangerously close to obstructing democracy by telling people how he wants them to vote. As you're no doubt aware from reading my columns I'm all for supporting my own province, but there's major internal issues the provincial government should be focussing on right now. Yes, we are a "have" province now, thanks to the Hebron deal signed last month. Except the health care system is crumbling, the schools are full of mold, and Memorial University is without a president.
On the positive side, it's nice to see a crusader forcibly defending Newfoundland's interests instead of getting taken advantage of like so many premiers have in the past. If he wants someone to crusade the ideals of "ABC", then perhaps he should pass it on to someone not affiliated with the government - and working with his cabinet (it's supposed to be a team effort!), get on with his job of guiding Newfoundland to its destiny.
The back and forth sparring between the Liberals and the Conseratives have been going on forever. Harper's a Bush clone, and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is spineless. Green Party leader Elizabeth May is still fairly untested. Given the chance, I think NDP Leader Jack Layton could be a solid PM. He's concise, clear, witty, has some good ideas and doesn't back down. This country needs a shakeup.
In summary: be open to change, keep cool, be a team player and don't break that sacred trust. Exercise your right to vote.