This has been a sad, lacklustre, mean, dirty and, above all else, unenlightening election campaign.
I understand why Justin Trudeau wanted to talk about anything except issues: he has a miserable record of failure after failure, broken promise heaped upon broken promise and ethical and policy missteps in almost every field. Who wants to talk about that?
I also understand why Andrew Scheer wanted to run against Trudeau the blackface, ethical failure rather than run on an attractive, realistic set of policy proposals that was made public before the last week of the election.
But the real failure was NOT in the political parties ~ they did what they wanted because the Canadian media, by and large, let them do as they pleased.
I’m not talking about media bias. It exists; it will always exist in a free and open society. I understand and accept it. I’m talking about journalists, not all, to be sure, there were, always some notable exceptions …
… who tried to ask tough questions about topics that really mattered, but too many seemed too focused on the talking points issued by the campaign teams and by exploring the mud being slung by the campaign teams.
There were far too few tough questions about the economy. I don’t recall anyone asking either Prime Minister Trudeau or Andrew Scheer about how then plan to cope when, not if, a recession hits Canada. There were almost no questions about important strategic (fiscal, foreign and defence policy) issues. There were too few questions about real environmental policy choices ~ do we actually think globally and act locally? Or must everything be all about the 1.5% of global greenhouse gases that Canada emits?
I watched too many journalists ask the same questions, over and over and over, and be ignored, and then write about how often leaders ignored questions. That’s not news. Anyone who’s watched Question Period in the House of Commons knows that it isn’t Answer Period. Politicians are skilled dissemblers.
Elections should be about Canadians making informed choices. Given the way modern campaigns are conducted we, Canadians, must rely upon the media to ask the important questions and to badger political leaders into answering … or to pull media coverage ~ a nuclear attack to a campaign. When Prime Minister Trudeau would not answer simple questions about ethics or when Andrew Scheer would not answer questions about Warren Kinsella’s role in the campaign journalists should have walked out, en-masse, and left the campaign high and dry and gasping for air because publicity is what the campaigns are ALL about.
Canadians will go to the polling stations tomorrow less informed than in any election I can recall ~ and I’ve been voting since the 25th general election in 1962. (I was a soldier so I could (and did) vote before I was 21.) I blame the media for that ~ not all journalists because, as I said, some tried, really hard to ask and get answers to tough questions. But I blame almost all editors and managers because they let the politicians get away with using the media as props.
The media, generally, failed Canadians.