I'm a cynic. I believe that most people tend to vote with their feelings rather than with their minds and that many Canadians simply find the prospect of a Conservative government 'scary.' Yes, that is the word often used by individuals caught in those man-in-the-street interviews when asked about the conservatives generally or Stephen Harper, the Conservative Party leader, specifically. Scary.
Scarier than Jean Chretien? Oh, he's gone now isn't he. OK then, scarier than Paul Martin, Chretien's replacement? Scarier than New Democratic leader Jack Layton?
Harper seems like a likable guy. Sure, he's a bit stiff and he isn't quite comfortable with speaking extemporaneously, but he is bright, focused, and principled. You may not agree with his principles, Jack Layton certainly doesn't, but Harper is less likely to steal from you, via taxes, than either Martin or Layton.
At least in theory. Once a particular group or gang is elected into political power, they often fall prey to the perceived need to meet the demand for government goods and services that the public clamour for in return for their votes. And then they tax and spend, tax and spend and tax and spend, until there is no money left, there are huge annual deficits, an escalating national debt and an eventual economic collapse.
But maybe Harper will be different. I'm willing to give him a chance. His bunch certainly can't be any worse than the Liberals and they would be a huge improvement over a New Democratic government. Yep, I find that scary: a New Democratic government under Jack Layton. Thankfully, that appears to be unlikely this time around.
In a perfect world, of course, we would elect a Libertarian government. But the world isn't perfect, is it.
If the Conservatives should happen, by some miracle, to find themselves with a majority government, here is what they should do:
- Get rid of the National Wheat Board
- Get rid of the National Gun Registry
- Stop any and all corporate subsidies
- Get rid of capital gain taxes
- Institute a flat rate income tax