Turn on your TV and change it to a news channel, open a paper, or check the internet. It’s a policy blizzard out there.
In fact, we’d have trouble keeping up if we were covering nothing but announcements from the three major political parties. While the United States is suffering through a bizarre Republican primary that is light on issues and heavy on Trump, Canada is a policy wonk’s dream.
Just in the past week or so, we’ve seen the major party leaders make promises on senate reform, old age security, northern defense, business taxes, even home renovation tax credits.
You could criticize some of these announcements. Many of them are on the small scale side of things.
We’ve called for a debate on big issues – things like global warming, but we could as easily have said health care or the role of Canada’s military, post-secondary education, veterans and the future of our economy.
So far, we haven’t seen too much discussion of those big issues. But the party leaders have a long road ahead of them, and they have to save some ammunition for September and October, when everyone’s back from summer getaways and can really get down to paying attention to the news again.
Right now, we’re actually pleased that, at the very least, there are issues on the table. Not all of these issues are minor, either – when Harper talks about expanding the Junior Canadian Rangers, or Mulcair wants to return Old Age Security to 65 from 67 years, those are both indications of significant priorities for their potential governments.
We’re in the middle of a long, long campaign. The leaders could have been excused for stretching things out, going to rallies, and not saying much.
Instead, we’ve actually seen a lot of talk about how things would go under Trudeau, Harper, and Mulcair. It may be a little piecemeal right now, but it could be worse.
We could be talking about Donald Trump.