Canada, U.S. elections: sad and sadder

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The election season is in full swing on bothsides of the Canada-U.S. border, something hardto miss unless one is a recluse withoutcontact with the media. For some of us it isall recreational, if not annoying, for othersan item of concern. For Canadians theAmerican gong show is a source ofentertainment, though one can be sure that thereverse is not true. In fact one could betthat many Canadians probably know more aboutthe U.S. election than a lot of the Americans do.

For those of us who are civic minded it meanswe will be voting soon. In my case that meansvoting twice, once on each side of the border.In fact I have already mailed off my ballot inthe U.S. election. I would never fail to votefor Barbara Lee who represents mycongressional district in California.

The choice for President left me less thanenthusiastic. Neither candidate seriouslyaddresses the changes that need to be made toprotect our future and make the world a betterplace to live in. On one hand there is an oldpolitical hack whose chief claim to fame isthat he got captured by the North Vietnameseand spent a number of years in prison in NorthVietnam. From that he has managed to create awar hero legend, one that some of his fellowPOWs would disagree with, not to mention thefamilies of many of the GIs still missing andunaccounted for.

On the other hand we have a young man whosechief claim to fame is that he is a civicminded guy with good ideas and the ability totalk circles around everyone else. He ismarginally better for the future than the oldguy, and much better than the old guy's VPchoice who may become President given that theold guy might croak in office.

Do not look for any significant change inbusiness as usual, no matter which one getselected. The old guy wants to fight to theend in Iraq, more of the same in Afghanistan,and will recycle a lot of the failures of thecurrent administration. The new guy wants toget out of Iraq, but not too fast, which ispolit-babble for fighting to the end, and likethe old guy will ramp up the lost cause inAfghanistan. However, he may fix some of theother failures of the current administration.

Neither candidate will likely take on thepower structure that is running the countryinto the ground. Both believe in economic andother growth and can not be expected to leadthe nation away from growth and into a moreecologically sound and sustainable society.Environmental sustainability is in directconflict with the current economic system andeven though many may pay lip service to it, itwill not be supported when the reality of ithits home.

The options in Canada are not any moreencouraging. The two main contendersrepresent different branches of the BusinessParty, the Alberta branch and the Ontariobranch. The former gave us the GST, whichtells you something about a party that says weshould reduce taxes, and the latter neverrepealed it when they had the chance. Thelatter also opposed the North American FreeTrade Agreement, then implemented it. And,they got us stuck in the mess in Afghanistan.The former is planning to extend it. Theformer also wanted to drag us into the Iraqtheatre of the war. Fortunately they were notin power at the time to do it.

Like the Americans, both major Canadianparties are hooked on growth, one can bet thatno matter how they talk on the environment,they will do nothing of significance becauseof the inevitable economic conflicts. One canalso bet that they will continue to sendCanadians to their death in a needless war.

Fortunately for Canadians, unlike theAmericans, there are more than two viablechoices. So for those who wish something atleast a little different than the BusinessParty, they have a place to put their vote.

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