Both the Conservatives and the NDP claim that Canadians would be better off with only two political parties (them, of course) dominating our system of governance – one on the right and one on the left, just like the Americans.
They contend such polarization would make politics so much simpler. Every decision would be a straight two-way choice: Black or White? Good or Bad? Right or Wrong?
Simpler? Maybe. But better? Not necessarily!
Proof of the havoc caused by simplistic polarized politics, is obvious in the economic chaos battering the United States.
The world watched in disbelief this summer as the Americans took their country to the brink of defaulting on their debts – risking another global recession – because sterile ideologies locked them into reckless confrontation. There was no search for creative ideas or sensible common ground.
With divisions so deep, one prominent financial rating agency downgraded America’s credit-worthiness – “due to a lack of credible leadership in Congress”. That triggered wild and costly gyrations in global currency and stock markets.
These are the fruits of polarization!
The carnage didn’t stop at the US border. The pensions and savings of millions of Canadian families took a huge hit, because they rely on stock market growth and stability, which polarization undermines.
Thousands of small businesses (Canada’s best job creators) are hurting, because a frail American dollar and worried American consumers make it tougher for us to export.
With the US economy staggering and their polarized political system incapable of finding effective solutions with broad-based buy-in, the prosperity of millions is jeopardized.
A Conservative/NDP push for ideological polarization in Canada is self-serving and wrong.
Balance, inclusion and accommodation. Fairness and innovation. Not the wedge politics of division, but public policy that recognizes strength in diversity and tries to pull people together. This approach will serve Canada better.
Ralph Goodale, M.P.