Hodgepodge: Canadian Elections

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Hodgepodge: Canadian Elections

By Charlie Hodge.

The most comforting reality in regards to the Canadian election debate earlier this week is to recall insanity spewed the same day by the moron running things south of the border. No matter how sad our national political battle seems – at least we are in better shape than Americans.

All six Canadian political party leaders (a record number) squared off Monday night and at the end of the day there was not a lot learned or gained by the discussion. Touted as the most watched Canadian TV debate in history it was supposed to focus on five major topics: affordability and economic insecurity; national and global leadership; Indigenous issues; polarization, human rights and immigration; and finally, the environment and energy. Unfortunately the session too often delved into name calling and insults rather than hard line policies or commitments.

We should be surprised?

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservatives’ Andrew Scheer, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party’s Elizabeth May, People’s Party of Canada’s top dog Maxime Bernier, and Bloc Québécois’s Yves-François Blanchet battled for voter attention during the night. General consensus is that no one clearly gained ground except, perhaps, Singh.

Liberals and Conservatives have been sharing the lead in popularity since the current race began and many hoped the battle would help them decide before election day October 21. For most the debate failed. Sadly Trudeau and Scheer spent much of the evening talking over each other, loudly insulting each other like school children.

Scheer instantly attacked Trudeau referring to him as a, “phony” and “fraud” who does not deserve to be re-elected. He hammered throughout the night at Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin affair and the blackface scandal.

Trudeau responded by pointing out a strong economy and employment numbers under his leadership and yet was happy to play the slap game attacking Scheer on social issues such as abortion rights. Trudeau said Scheer doesn’t believe in climate change, has no plan for the environment, and promotes an agenda that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Canadians. On SNC-Lavalin, Trudeau said he would not apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs.

Singh has worked hard to position himself as a reasonable third option and managed to work the debate with a more conciliatory approach telling listeners his party was, “in it for the people, we’re not in it for the rich.”

His quick wit landed a few great shots as well, though. Following a nasty verbal tussle between Trudeau and Scheer regarding their climate plans (or lack of), Singh sarcastically snarled to the audience, “You do not need to choose between Mr. Delay and Mr Deny.”

Blanchet naturally discussed issues important to Quebecers, such as Bill 21, the controversial provincial law that bars civil servants deemed to be in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols at work.

Not surprising Elizabeth May saved her harshest thoughts for climate issue debate, continuously calling Trudeau’s climate targets “a commitment to failure” and pleaded with voters to vote Green so they hold power in a minority situation.

With nothing to lose PPC leader Maxime Bernier spent most of his time being annoying, routinely interrupting everyone. He took it on the chin from everyone, however, regarding his comments on setting limits on the number of immigrants allowed into Canada. Bernier’s inclusion in the debate was questioned by Singh, who said he did not, “deserve a platform”.

Scoring big points with many listeners Singh said Canadians are looking for positive leadership from Ottawa.

“That’s what a leader does and a leader works for the people who need help, not helping those at the very top which we’ve seen with governments in Ottawa for far too long,” Singh pontificated.

Perhaps too little too late – climate change appears to be among the main topics this election. May called for doubling the country’s current target from 30 per cent to 60 cent per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 by closing down much of the county’s natural resources sector. No new pipelines, coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, would be approved under a Green government. The party would also ban all gas-powered internal combustion engine cars by 2030.

Even I tired of the constant rude interruptions and childlike debating and eventually shut the debate off, turning on other news instead. That was a mistake as I learned that President Trump had pulled U.S troops out of Syria abandoning Kurdish fighters to face a Turkish slaughter. When even Republican critics said he was sacrificing a U.S. ally and undermining American credibility, Trump simply threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.

“I have told Turkey that if they do anything outside of what we would think is humane … they could suffer the wrath of an extremely decimated economy,” Trump said.

“As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)…”

Seriously?

‘Great and unmatched wisdom?’

Thank God I am Canadian.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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