The federal election has begun, which means 40 days of would-be prime ministers and MPs loudly telling us over and over how much they’re listening to “ordinary Canadians.”
The truth is, MPs do listen to Canadians. Usually not until folks get a bullhorn and start screaming, however.
Most of the big changes in this country in the past few decades have been pushed by citizens for years – sometimes decades – before any political party would put even tentative support behind it.
The legalization of cannabis, government acceptance of gay marriage, the need for action on climate change – all of these issues which have reshaped Canadian society since the turn of the century were championed by volunteers and interest groups, were tested in the courts, or were partially adopted by provinces long before any federal party managed to pass substantive legislation.
The people lead, the politicians follow. That’s the way it’s always been.
With a federal election underway, we can again watch the government play catch up to the issues that concern people in Langley, including diminishing housing affordability, wage stagnation, homelessness, and the overdose crisis.
Strong national policies could help on these issues, and while previous Conservative and Liberal governments have taken a stab at them, they are far from solved.
The fun thing about representative democracy is that it’s basically a big job interview. The leaders and local candidates may be in charge in Ottawa, but every four years, they have to come to us, cap in hand, and convince us that they can help with our problems.
Let the election begin!