Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Elections

There is an election upcoming and today is a very important day in that election.

What? Oh no, not THAT election.

I am talking about an election in the province of Canada in which I live. I'll call it Prairie Province. And to give you a sense of one (OF MANY) of the differences between our wee election and THAT election, our election was called yesterday, and the vote will be held on March 3rd. A little less than a month, start to finish.

The big issues are health care, affordable housing, the environment, etc.

We have been a Conservative province for many many years, and despite a recent change in the leadership of that party that many perceive to have been a mistake, I believe that we will continue to be a Conservative province in a month's time. Our Conservative voters have not been inclined in recent years to waffling back and forth. For the record, I am not a Conservative, and I have been embarassed in recent years by our province's neglect of the environment and vehement opposition to same-sex marriage, especially.

But the thing that bothers me most of all about our provincial politics is that we have lots and lots of money. LOTS of money. We are a debt-free province, and in the last few years, we have budgeted surpluses in the billions of dollars. BILLIONS of dollars.

(Do you remember the scene in the Simpsons where the reporter asks the actor, "How do you sleep at night?" And the actor says, "On top of a big pile of money, with many beautiful women." It's sort of feels like that...)

Now, I am not so naive as to think that there are easy solutions to societal issues like homelessness and health care shortages - I know that you can't just throw money at the problems and hope they'll go away - but I'd like to think that billions of dollars of extra money each year would, at least, lead to SOME solutions? Even little ones? Three weeks ago, a homeless man froze to death in a back alley in a city suburb. I want to know why, with our billions of dollars, he had no place warm to go to spend a freezing cold night. Our homeless shelters are full. Our emergency rooms are full. Our nurses are few. Our poor are many.

Why, with the health of our economy, does this never seem to change?

4 comments:

From The Podium said...

Those who have none - want little. Those who have LOTS - want MORE.

It's the same with "Prairie Province" The have "lots" but crave "more". So, even though they have BILLIONS of money in the bank - why would they spend it on sensible solutions when they can have BILLIONS more?

I could never figure out how a government can budget a surplus. If someone were to apply for a grant from the Government, and show a surplus in their budget, there is no way they'd get the grant. So I say - I'm not going to give the government my taxes, because obviously, they don't need it.

But, that would make me have to go to jail. Which I suppose is one of the only place I could go to get my tax dollars working for my benefit.

I'm Still Me said...

I have found the separation between conservative and not conservative here to be so much larger and more socially definitive than back home. I have had some time to talk with some republicans of many ages and one thing I have found is that they are much less likely to listen and consider what a non-conservative has to say. I may be a little too black and white, but those I have met seem to put SO much personal conviction in their beliefs that to question them or provide alternatives is like asking to be hit on the head with a 2x4. I wonder if that is why the Prairie Province has been staying Conservative for so long. A huge majority of the conservative vote comes from rural voters.

Your points on the surplus budget are great ... much more eloquent than I could be!

Episcopollyanna said...

Oh, I could rant on and on about this. It makes me angry and sad to see the billions of dollars spent on war while people freeze to death and children go hungry.

People who complain about food stamp fraud never seem to see the big picture about government waste and corporate tax breaks. *sigh* I

Gord said...

HAving grown up in Prairie Province, I can only say that my experience is that people don't truly see. Or choose not to see until it hits their circle of family/friends.

WEll that and the fact the the governemnt has long been in the pockets of big money and caved in to the blackmail of the oil industry for decades.