You might not know this about me, but in a little under three weeks, I am going to be going to the Greater Metro Lumsden Downtown Core Community Hall to do some serious, *serious* civic duty. Hardcore civic duty.
And so in the lead-up to my hardcore civic duty badassery, I have been following, with a small amount of disgust, the platforms of all two of my province’s political parties. Sure, sure, you can tell me the Liberals are still alive in Saskatchewan, but I’ll just tell you that the black-footed ferret is still alive in Saskatchewan too, but chances are good you’ll never see one.
With a few exceptions, I think the neo-centrist party that’s currently running the game in Saskatchewan (the Saskatchewan Party, for the record) isn’t doing too bad of a job, but I’m not entirely happy with them. Partly because they’re not my style of political ideal, and partly because of some Bad Experiences with conservative-style parties in the past. I’d like to tell you that the conservatives backed over my trike when I as a kid, but that was the De Mertts, and it was my fault for leaving my trike in their driveway. I’ll never forget watching my father walk up the street in his jeans and white undershirt, carrying my mangled tricycle in one hand. He tossed the carcass on the grass at my feet and said, “this is what happens when you don’t take care of your things.”
The last time the province had a conservative government, they didn’t take care of their things. They sold off all of our highways equipment (and now they blame the NDP for the highways falling out of repair). They cancelled dental care programs for children that had been proved to improve children’s overall health care (remember this; it will become important in a minute). They spent the province into an ENORMOUS debt (because that is what Conservative governments do; they spend and spend and spend while at the same time cutting services).
Now, people who follow politics have long memories. And some of us, even though we were still in short pants when the last Conservative government ran this province (into the ground), we still remember some of the more egregious things that were done. Or maybe ‘remember’ isn’t the right word. “Listened to everyone around them complain for twenty years” might be more appropriate.
The SaskParty hasn’t gone to that level of ridiculous abuse of public trust, but they also haven’t done an awful lot by way of improving the quality of life in the province. They have certainly catered to industry and business, and I think the leader of the party (our Premier, the Honourable Brad Wall) really cares about the province, and really gives a shit. I think he thinks about the future of the province, and of the people who live here. I think he’s an intelligent, hard-working man with good values. But I also think his government is altogether too focused on just one aspect of governance (and that is developing business and economy without paying enough attention to other things).
But here’s my problem.
I *refuse* to vote for the socialist party in this province because I am so vehemently opposed to the opposition leader. I don’t trust the man. I don’t know him personally, but my family does. I could (but won’t) tell you stories that would curl your hair. Or straighten it, if it’s already curly. But aside from that, politically, this man is almost entirely like the sort of fish that jumped out of the lake during an algal bloom and landed on the shore several weeks ago, just before a cold snap, whose cold, lifeless body hasn’t even been touched by crows.
Of the promises he has made the people of Saskatchewan during this election, exactly none of them is an original thought. Every single one has already been done here, by people whose political acumen was more savvy than his. Remember that dental program I mentioned? That was instituted in Saskatchewan in the late seventies. It was a partnership between the dentists and the provincial school system. Every elementary school-age child registered in a recognised educational program received regular dental checkups and dental hygeine training twice a year. Minor dental procedures were also covered by this plan. It was spearheaded based on research that indicated people with good dental care have better health later in life.
I know a lot about this program. My mum was on the board that instituted it.
So every time I hear the NDP talk about how they’ve come up with this REALLY COOL DENTAL CARE PROGRAM, I cringe. Because not once do they say “reinstitute” or “re-establish” or “reintroduce”. Yeah, it bugs me that this knob is taking credit where credit is not due.
The NDP says they’re going to freeze tuition. This is a bad plan. It’s always been a bad plan. The NDP government who did this in the 90s discovered just how bad a plan it is. Tuition freezes create a false economy and serve to cripple the Universities in the short-and long-term. If Lingenfelter did his homework, he’d find that previous NDP governments have already done this.
The NDP want to institute rent control. If Lingenfelter did his research, he’d find that the last NDP looked at rent control and decided against doing it. Do you know why? Because it ends up hurting communities in the long run. What the last NDP government was trying to do was to address the underlying issues behind poverty. They tried programs designed to create more housing, rather than institute rent control. And those programs worked. They weren’t perfect, but they were working.
In fact, the only political promise that Lingenfelter has made that hasn’t been rejected by other NDP governments is the one that was NOT HIS IDEA.
Maybe I’ll vote for the black-footed ferret. Or the first person who actually addresses support and development of arts and culture without saying the word ‘multiculturalism’ and without mentioning Corner Gas.