Political Campaigns Should be About Ideas

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Decision 2011THUNDER BAY – Over the past several days, some of those in the Ontario Liberal party have attempted to paint Tim Hudak and the Ontario Progressive Conservatives as “Tea Party North”. Tim Hudak is being painted as “Tea Party Tim” or “Tea Bag Tim”.

Honestly, is this name-calling in politics really a part of what is needed in Ontario politics?

Does anyone really believe that calling Premier Dalton McGuinty; Dalton McSquinty, Dalton McLiar, Dalton McTax, Liar McTax, or Weasel McGuinty is boosting the quality of political debate?

Does anyone really believe that calling PC leader Tim Hudak; Tea Party Tim, or Tea Bag Tim is going to really make Ontario better?

At least to me, name-calling in politics is usually the approach taken when a party or a candidate wants people looking away from their record, and only at that of their opponent.

It is not the lofty presentation of ideals, or of a vision of greatness. It is petty partisan politics at its best or worse, depending on your point of view.

It is something that seems to have escalated ever since political science degrees became needed political tools. We have seen the slow steady decline in political discourse and dialogue. Today it is, sadly all the political norm simply that speaking points and rhetoric rule the roost.

It is now painted, especially in the media as ‘left vs right’. The reality is what is needed in Canada and in Ontario is a honest debate on direction and ideas.

Part of the problem perhaps is in our legislatures and in parliament. Question Period in our governments is seen only as an opportunity to score political points, not as an opportunity for dialogue or discourse. Much of the media covers QP and not the debates, speeches and committee meetings where the real work of government is done.

The same thing happened over the launch of Sun Media’s Sun News on television. Opponents dubbed it ‘Fox News North’ and denounced the new network as reactionary and ‘right wing’. Of course that Sun News already has many programs which are already beating the pants off of shows in the same time slots as on CTV Newsnet and CBC Newsworld, might demonstrate that people are usually smarter than pundits?

Name-calling, negative ads, and negative campaigning are all a part of what is wrong with politics today. It is likely why fewer and fewer people are connecting with politicians, and it is why voters numbers continue to lag ever downward. Negative campaigning efforts are, in my view, simply a political tool to drive out uncommitted voters, so that the party with the best organized ‘ground game’ can get out their voters to the polls and win.

There are critical issues, and important decisions about the future of Northwestern Ontario, and for Ontario that each one of us has to make during this election. We should be demanding of all the candidates, and the parties that they keep that in mind throughout the campaign.

This ridiculous posturing that somehow one politician or another doesn’t care about Ontario should have no place in any campaign. Each politician seeking office, and each party have views, ideas and directions they would like to see our province head.

I for one hope the campaign is filled with discussion on how those ideas will work, rather than name-calling and insults thrown about like tea cups.

James Murray
News Director

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