- Adam Lent highlights the strong majority of respondents in the UK who see the political system as serving the powerful rather than the public. And Elizabeth Warren explains why the same conclusion applies in the U.S., while making the case that there's room to improve matters simply by emphasizing the choices voters face:
The system is rigged. And now that I’ve been in Washington and seen it up close and personal, I just see new ways in which that happens. But we have to stop and back up, and you have to kind of get the right diagnosis of the problem, to see how it is that—it goes well beyond campaign contributions. That’s a huge part of it. But it’s more than that. It’s the armies of lobbyists and lawyers who are always at the table, who are always there to make sure that in every decision that gets made, their clients’ tender fannies are well protected. And when that happens — not just once, not just twice, but thousands of times a week — the system just gradually tilts further and further. There is no one at the table…I shouldn’t say there’s no one. I don’t want to overstate. You don’t have to go into hyperbole. But there are very few people at the decision-making table to argue for minimum-wage workers.- Meanwhile, Nikola Luksic and Tom Howell discuss the challenge in trying to encourage voters to make decisions based on something more than visceral impressions - particularly when party strategies are aimed squarely at exploiting those instantaneous reactions. And John Cruickshank argues that the perception among younger citizens that politics aren't worth their time will only make matters worse.
(W)e need to do a better job of talking about issues. And I know that sounds boring and dull as dishwater, but it’s true. The differences between voting for two candidates should be really clear to every voter and it should be clear in terms of, who votes to raise the minimum wage and who doesn’t. Who votes to lower the interest rate on student loans and who doesn’t. Who votes to make sure women can’t get fired for asking how much a guy is making for doing the same job, and who doesn’t. There are these core differences that are about equality and opportunity. It can’t be that we don’t make a clear distinction. If we fail to make that distinction, then shame on us. That is my bottom line on this.
You know, during the Senate race that I was in — I mean, I was a first-time candidate, I’d never done this before — the thing that scared me the most was that the race wouldn’t be about the core differences between my opponent and me. I wanted people to understand where I stood on investments in the future, investments in education and research that help us build a future. Where I stood on the minimum wage and equal pay. And where he stood on the other side. The point was not to blur the differences and to run to some mythical middle where we agreed with each other. The point was to say that, here are really big differences between the two of us. Voters have a chance to make a choice.
- Nora Loreto worries about the effect of privatizing our electoral system, while Karl Nerenberg discusses a needed challenge to the Cons' latest attempt to keep voters away from the polls. And Rick Mercer reminds us how the Cons - including their Parliamentary puppet Andrew Scheer - are going out of their way to make our political institutions ineffective.
- Finally, for those looking for issues where there's ample room for contrast and departure from past neglect, Jeffrey Simpson lambastes the Cons for their refusal to be anything but an obstacle in the battle against climate change:
Those who care about reducing carbon emissions have stated the truth repeatedly: Canada will not meet the reduction target so often proclaimed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government.
Against all evidence, including its own numbers, Ottawa has insisted that the country remains on track to reduce emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 to 2020.
It has been an alarming but not atypical performance: Look facts in the face and insist that black is white, presumably hoping or believing that citizens don’t know or care. And one wonders why the public is cynical about government.
Perhaps worst of all, but not surprising, is the commissioner’s finding that not only will the reduction targets not be met, but no serious plans exist within the federal government, alone or in conjunction with the provinces, to meet them.
This is hardly surprising, given the lack of interest in the file by this government – a lack of interest that arises from a political calculation that Conservative supporters are either opposed or indifferent to climate-change mitigation...The idea of Canada acting as a leader, or first mover, has no appeal for this government.