Saturday, March 19, 2005

Tories: Do You Want My Vote or Not?

I live in the federal riding of Ottawa-Centre. The MP is "Honest Ed" Broadbent of the lefty New Democrats. In spite of that, most people, including myself, feel that Ed's an all right Joe and a lot more competent than the Senate-bound Mac Harb.

Which is why I voted for him.

I used to have a membership in the Reform Party of Canada, later the Canadian Alliance. And yet I voted for a socialist.

Why? Because I don't know the CPC candidate. All I got was some junk mail stuck to my apartment building door -- which, by the way, is not allowed according to the rules of the building -- and an ill-timed phone call from a volunteer speaking badly-accented English asking for my support. (To be fair, I got this from the Liberals too.)

Or to put it bluntly: in the last election, the Conservative Party of Canada was not ready for power, and it's not ready for power now.

This current convention in Montreal is a first step: a way for the public to gauge if the Tories are ready. Policies, strategies, statements of principle, etc. The press have been playing up a possible schism over convention delegate policies which strikes me as being a bit silly, but then that's the press for you.

Time will tell if the Tories can get their problems ironed out, but in the meantime I have a few questions to ask. These are the issues that matter to me when I vote; and the Tories' campaign platform will answer my questions:

1. Will you stop the chronic underfunding of the Canadian Forces, and re-work the DND infrastructure so that our soldiers, sailors and air people get the equipment they need when they need it?

2. Will you be friends with the United States -- no matter who they put in the White House? (George Bush may not be in power for the next election.)

3. Will you review and reform our public safety infrastructure so that the RCMP, CSIS, CSE, Immigration and Foreign Affairs can work together more smoothly to fight terrorism?

4. Will you reform health care so that Canadians can get the care they need -- regardless of whether it's paid for by the public or private sectors?

5. Will you help our Native Peoples so that they can learn to look after themselves? Or join the mainstream Canadian society, if they so choose?

6. Will you help our farmers and fishermen so that they can keep Canada's food supply constant without having to go broke?

7. Can you reform the public service so that things like the sponsorship scandal don't happen again?