Letter: Questioning politics

To the Editor

I was happily surprised to see two political letters to the editor in the April 23 edition of the Echo. They were justifiably disgusted with what Ford is doing to this great province and asked voters to either tune out (in order to retain their mental health) or to write in and tell Ford and their local MPP what they don’t like. The latter idea will work to a certain extent but only if the recipient of those letters is actually listening. Unlike Trump there are signs that Ford sometimes listens. Unfortunately Ford is more likely to continue listening to the sound of his own voice rather than that of the electorate or his timorous caucus.

Haliburton like the majority of rural communities across Canada and the U.S.A. forms a solid conservative base. Voters in those communities have traditionally supported the Conservative Party no matter who the leader or the local candidate may be. After all to many voters it is not the individual but rather the party and what the party purportedly stands for that counts.

The notion of party loyalty opens up some interesting questions. Are the tenets of a party’s ideology real or not. Less government and lower taxes sound great and desirable. But do they make sense? We need services provided by government like education health care and roads. The money for those services has to come from somewhere.

Is the questioning of a party’s ideology healthy? Isn’t it important that there is greater understanding and openness in the minds of voters? After all voters hold the key to the future. If voters hold onto the stripes of their political parties the same way that they hold on to their religions and with the same fervour and lack of questioning then the likes of Trump and Ford will continue to be elected.

I realize that most people shy away from discussing politics and religion in mixed company and social gatherings. However politics is important and like anything else should be discussed (but not argued). Letters to the editor are one way of opening a channel of communication. Open discussion forums like Harry Morgan’s monthly “Burgers Beer and Bible” sessions at McKecks (now discontinued) is another way. Using social media is yet another option although that often creates silos where members are singing from the same pages of their favourite hymn book.

As we approach the October federal election it is important that voters make their choice unencumbered by traditional voting patterns or bumper sticker slogans. Nor should they be swayed by examples of Liberal scandals (like the questionable SNC Lavalin affair) videos of a Conservative Senator urging Canadians to “roll over every Liberal in the country” or Conservative Party members being associated with far-right groups (like Rebel Media and C3RF).

Unlike the U.S.A. we have a rainbow of political colours (red blue orange and green) to choose from and each has its own message. It is also important that in the coming election political parties focus on what they have to offer Canadians instead of bombarding us with attack ads and making dubious claims about future initiatives that opponents will take.

So then how do we voters break out of our comfortable silos based on past voting history and open our eyes as to how to best negotiate the coming election storm and how to influence current governments? Any answers?

Dennis Choptiany