Right in the centre - A reflection on Canada Day– A re-run from 2018


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

A number of questions crossed my mind over the long weekend and so I thought I would share them. With both a Manitoban and Canadian election this fall, be sure to ask the politicians these questions.

•How come we have so many different kinds of groups of rights? Why can’t we just have human rights and leave it at that? 

•Instead of chasing around after different groups’ rights, why don’t we just address the various real injustices that exist? For example, why do some communities have clean drinking water and others don’t? Why do some students have good schools and some don’t? Why are there huge discrepancies in the amount of money government puts into housing in urban areas as compared to rural and remote areas?

•How is it that political parties can hijack the political nomination process? And better yet, why would they want to do so? Why is it that local constituency associations are sometimes overruled on who can be their candidate? Isn’t that just plain wrong?

•Why is it that in the provincial legislature and the federal parliament, MLAs and MPs have to vote only along party lines? How can the leader (premier or prime minister) have the nerve to dictate to the members how to vote on items (other than the budget perhaps)? What if a member wants to vote according to their conscience? What if a member knows full well that their constituency is against a piece of legislation? Should they not be allowed a free vote? Whenever a member questions the government and votes against the party line, they get turfed.

•When people vote for a politician, they expect them to vote along with the majority of the constituency or at the very least, according to their conscience. They should expect nothing less, but in many cases, the reality falls far short of the expectation.

•Why are so many people not casting votes to elect their representatives? Is it because they feel it’s useless? I wonder. No, I don’t wonder, I know! People figure it’s useless to vote because they feel nothing will change. Maybe the parties want it that way, keep expectations low, keep voter turnout low and you can win government on 40 per cent of the votes cast. If only 50 per cent of the voters actually cast votes, you can then win an election by getting 20 per cent of the people out to vote for your party. Pretty simple way to win an election, isn’t it? Only have to convince two in 10 people to actually vote for you and you get elected.

As I pondered over the Canada Day long weekend how fortunate we are in Canada, it also crossed my mind as to how fragile that fortune is. Our democracy is not nearly as vibrant or as strong as it once was. Many of our leaders can’t speak all that well. Some of them obviously can’t think very well either. For many of them, we have no clue as to what they really believe. They develop policy by focus groups and on the fly. Policies have to keep the mainstream media happy or they will be trashed. If a policy doesn’t meet the accepted narrative of the CBC, it will be, at best, ignored or at worst, ridiculed. 

•Why do we send billions of dollars each year to Manitoba to prop up our poorly managed economy and many more billions of dollars to Quebec so they can have a cheap daycare and a propped up arts and cultural community?

•Why can Quebec and Alberta have privately run health clinics, diagnostic services and surgery and we can’t? 

•Why, why, why?

The answer is simple, it’s because we let them and we need to stomp our feet and lift Canada up to an even better position. Complacency is a bad thing and it is long past time when we should be getting more involved. 

Elections are coming folks, elections are coming!

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.