Sunday, April 24, 2011

Election Day minus 8 - Into the heart of darkness

Day 30: Yesterday I spent much of the day at OISE part of the University in downtown Toronto. It was like a home coming for me, I had attended classes there about 40 years ago when I was a student getting my teacher's accreditation. Sadly, it hasn't changed much. 
I don't want to sound self-serving but I was at public forum of the Small Parties, like us. Well, not really like us, all that we have in common is we are just minor parties in the May 2nd election.
Many of the party reps present thought that the media ignore us in favour of the mainstream parties. Of course that's bunk. In the marketplace of political parties, the minor fringe parties are given short shrift for many reasons. Some of these parties are just plain single issue parties like The Marijuana Party, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, and the First Peoples National Party. Of course I would consider the Green Party a single issue party, and they should have been at this conference, because like us they have no representation in Parliament. They were invited, but chose to ignore it. 
No, the reason that we are ignored by media is that we are ignored by voters - we really don't have much to offer to the vast majority of voters who are too busy to select good political representation. The Greens of course emerged as a larger party to save the world from the scourge of human environmental recklessness, you know global warming and the like. But the writing is on the wall for them, they don't yet believe it, but they are yesterday's leftovers, maybe they will join the minor party group next election.
Other parties present were the Canadian Action Party, Christian Heritage Party, Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist Party, Pirate Party and the Rhinoceros Party. All but the Pirates and Rhinos (see picture of two members above) are state-loving power parties. The Pirates are interesting, not sure why they aren't libertarians but hey, I like the name. The Rhinos are funny, full stop.
One party I thought was interesting enough to sort of join is the Online Party. Like all the others they are interested in issues, but they aren't pushing anything, they are just polling apparently, and offering a place for issues to be discussed, very refreshing.
For me the whole thing was possibly a waste of time though, unless there is some real press attention (none that I have seen yet) from it that discusses issues, not just the fact we were a motley crew.
Each of the party reps and their helpers I'm certain, were dedicated to their cause and passionate about getting their particular message out. I respect that, and those that I met, and spoke to, seemed like good people, people I would like as neighbours (maybe not the Rhinos ;-) ). I knew that going into the University campus, a socialist hothouse, was not going to be fun for me, and it wasn't fun. Central Toronto itself tends to vote for left leaning parties and people. So going down there was like banging my head on a wall, it felt better when I left. Would I do it again? Not unless there was more to gain than I did this time. This was a mix of Stranger in a Strange Land and Heart of Darkness.

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