Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The grass is always greener...

Well, tonight a major political leader came out and addressed friend, foe and the undecided about a major public policy issue. There was vision and substance (though not as much of the latter as many would like), and an effort to frame the debate and build support. Alas, this did not happen in Canada. It was Obama. Again.

As this blog is about Canadian politics and our upcoming election, I raise the Obama speech as an example of the type of discourse which is lacking in Canada. Increasingly it seems we are resorting to fear mongering ("vote Liberal and the crime bill will die, and your tax credit is gone!") or vagueness ("We can do better"), missing an opportunity to meaningfully engage Canadians on issues like innovation or democratic reform.

The debate in the U.S. is far from perfect and contains its own healthy doses of fear mongering and a lack of mutual respect. But it is a debate around issues, around the role of government and what citizens should and should not expect from the state.

As we head into our (annual) campaign season, here's hoping we can see a similar effort to frame issues and engage the public on the issues which mean the most to them.

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