Letter: Canada is at a crossroads about the future, Langley reader says

Letter to the editor related to the federal election campaign

Dear Editor,

As a member of the public at large without any direct party

affiliations, I have been observing the current Federal Election

with keen interest. By the tone of the overarching themes put forward

by all parties it is clear that this election represents a fork in the

road for Canada as a whole. Opposing parties are beating the drum for

‘change’ and their stance is far from rhetorical. ALL parties suggest

they are looking to advance the cause of the ‘middle class’ and of

‘seniors’; I would humbly suggest this is indicative of the need for

such change.

I personally believe that we all need to consider the political

undercurrents that have brought us to this point to make

an informed choice that reverses the tide of decline so evident in

Canadian daily life. These ‘undercurrents’ are driven by small ‘c’

conservative and small ‘l’ liberal philosophies upon which our values

and political beliefs are built. Canada is a country of which I am

extremely proud, countries the world over point to us as an inspiration.

Sadly our culture (and I would suggest ‘Western’ civilization as a

whole) is in decline. The reason for our initial ascension to esteem was

the proliferation of our middle class and its values which started with

post war baby boomers and the adoption of small ‘l’ liberal based

institutions. Socialistic parties such as the CCF/NDP helped drive this

agenda by advocating medicare, education and pensions. Centrist parties

embraced these ideas and brought them into law because they represented

popular values. These values persisted notwithstanding the political

platforms of the respective governments of the day, as they came to

represent success in the context of an advanced society. I believe that

the now widely accepted notion of decline (succeeding generations can’t

necessarily expect to do ‘better’ than their forebears) began with the

rise of small ‘c’ conservatism in the early 80’s and the regimes of

Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney. Our prospects for

continued growth were replaced with notions of ‘living within our

means’; ‘investments’ in future generations came under attack in the

same key areas of education, health and pensions with the proliferation

of ‘free trade’ and the outsourcing of industrial labour, the value

engine that drove these institutions through taxation. The new nascent

group quickly became the ‘1%’ which has been more recently identified as

a cohort which has greatly profited from these policies. The focus of

successive governments has continued in the vein of ‘globalization’,

continually widening the gap between the ‘1%’ and everyone else. During

this time, our MPs set about providing for their own legacy, with the

proliferation of their salaries, pension and benefits, which I would

suggest stands them apart from the average Canadian. With a starting

salary of $167,400 (that’s in excess of one million dollars in six years

folks) plus living allowances while in parliament, pensions that start

at 55 after a scant six years of service, severance pay at 50% of one

years salary regardless of whether they are voted out or leave

voluntarily; how can they possibly understand our motivations or our

very existence. Appearances would suggest that they aspire to membership

in the ‘1%’. To me, the very essence of democratic representation lies

in peerage with those whom are represented. Clearly, MPs are not our

peers.

This brings me back to the point of this missive; Canadian voters are at

a crossroads that will define our society for the next generation, we

can choose to elect a government that continues with the small’c’ values

of ‘money first’ or return to the ‘people first’ direction of small ‘l’

liberalism that made Canada the envy of the globe and a wonderful place

to live for an average, middle class person.

Alan Charles, Walnut Grove

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