After wading through all the election onslaught, I have crystalized in my wee mind two thoughts. The first was some sentence I gleaned somewhere that it was business as usual regarding the Liberals and PCs duking it out for Win and Place, and the NDP running their usual distant Show. And the Greens, rapidly becoming the Moped party (everyone wants one, nobody wants to admit it) is tossed to the side like a bothersome little brother.
The second thing that jumped out at me, however, was the Student Vote. I don't know if that gets caps or not, but it does in my head. The schools held their own mock vote for all kids in elementary and high school. I knew about this of course; my eldest paid rapt attention at the candidates debate at his school, and we spent many hours discussing all of it. He's into politics. I'm glad. But I hope the actual grown up parties pay just as much attention as my son does.
The Student Vote handed the Liberals an overwhelming majority, but they put the Green Party into opposition. Not only are the PCs not their fathers' party, they're not even their grandfathers' party anymore. Dead last.
Here's the thing: The Green Party had an excellent message (or several) that appealled to these kids. And some of these kids will be voting in a couple of years, or sooner. And before you start saying that it's easy to turn on a bunch of kids, let me assure nothing could be further from the truth. If you engage a child, you had better be at the top of your game for answering direct, honest questions. They see through stuff; they don't get the dance of politics, the selling out and the spin.
Nor do kids automatically vote as their parents do. I don't, my kid announced that he didn't. Good for him. My job is not to tell him what to think, but point him in the direction to get decent information to form his own opinions. Admittedly hard to do in our world of biased media, but doable. We discussed the nobility of having great platforms, but also having to have concrete ways to pay for them. But we also discussed that some things need to be done to secure the future at the cost of short-term gains. This is where the kids come in - it's their planet, and their future. They give a damn and their vested interest is in a livable planet, not a seductive tax cut.
If representatives from every single political party had a brain in their collective heads, they would be in those schools year in and year out engaging these kids. Listen to them. Don't give speeches, ask questions.
For the record, my own riding in Burlington screwed it up last night, again. Not by as much, but screwed it up. Too many people must not have spent any time in our local hospital, well-unserved by the PCs who have been delivered this area on a silver platter for too many decades. Guess what, folks? We're not that special. We get sick too, and if you believe that party you've rewarded all this time has taken good care of you, I suggest if you're at the hospital for any kind of care, you get your head examined while you're down there.