A veteran political observer is concerned that the Canadian federal elections will lose what is important to the country.
“The elections should be the point where the future is debated,” said Ken Coates.
“What would have been really cool,” he told Global News, “(would) be to have something that is so much greater than the sum of its parts.”
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Coates is a professor of public policy at the University of Saskatchewan and the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy at the University of Regina.
He said the broad discussion so far has overlooked critical issues such as managing the post-COVID-19 recovery, the challenges that cryptocurrency presents, the increasingly dark predictions for climate change, and the rise of China and the ongoing arrest of two Canadian citizens. , to name a few.
Coates said the dialogue so far amounts to “boring conversations” about gun control and climate change.
“We have repeated those many times in the last few years,” he said.
“Those are very partisan wedge problems. … Where’s the conversation on Canada’s innovation economy? “
The feeling that this election is not strictly necessary and, Coates said, has nothing to do with anything, contributes to the feeling that this election is pure politics.
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Global News asked Michael McAteer, communications manager for Saskatoon Liberal candidate Dr. Ruben Rajakumar, about the need for the current elections.
“I think it is reasonable to assume that any government would prefer to have a majority in Parliament to process its platform,” he said.
On why national conversations seem more focused on gun control and abortion rather than big issues, especially after the pandemic changed so much about how Canadians and people around the world live, he said he thinks it should because the decision is so big.
“People can be a little reluctant to really take up that challenge.”
Global News also asked Stacey Dyck-Jiricka, campaign manager for Saskatoon NDP candidate Robert Doucette, the same question.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“I know what we’re talking about here in (the) Saskatoon West (riding) and people are really talking about affordability.”
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Global News reached out to the campaigns of the three Saskatoon Conservative Party candidates multiple times over several days. One campaign manager declined an interview and the other two campaigns did not respond.
Coates said another issue is that political parties have lost their importance in terms of unifying Canadians. He said regional issues – such as Quebecers’ concerns about how their province is being treated or how those who strongly support oil and gas mining in the prairies feel about climate change – now have a precedent.
According to Coates, the unoriginal ideas he sees on major party platforms won’t help.
“You have to have a message,” he said.
“The Liberals have been in power for six years. Elections were called. They have absolutely no messages. “
The Conservatives and NDP campaigns are equally threadbare, in terms of meaningful content, he added.
He described the new Democrats as “liberals at speed,” willing to make and give away the money the liberals have already pledged, but even faster.
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And he said the conservatives had the easier message, being “we are not the liberals,” although Coates said party leader Erin O’Toole’s change of position on gun control has hurt his position.
Most of the campaign promises are nothing more than attempts to secure votes, he told Global News.
What he would have liked to see from a campaign unfolding at such a tumultuous time is a new vision of the country.
“Wouldn’t it be great if someone stood up and said, ‘Here’s 21st century Canada.’ We are going to ask you to do these things. We are going to make this type of investment. We are going to build this kind of country, ”he said.
“I don’t see that.”