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Up for another election?

Not me, says the democratic Scrooge

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As big a fan as I am of the democratic process, I’m suffering a little voter fatigue just now. Since June of 2004, we have had a federal election, a provincial election and a municipal election.

Given the fact that modern campaigns usually ramp up months before the official writ is dropped, we’ve probably spent nine out of the last 18 months in election mode.

You could also argue that the campaign for the federal government never really ended, with Conservative, NDP and Bloc parties threatening to derail Paul Martin’s Liberal minority government every week since he was elected in June of 2004.

That vote of no confidence finally came this Monday, which means we’re looking forward to the first holiday season federal election campaign since 1979. Which means I’ll be forced to watch attack ads during commercial breaks in It’s a Wonderful Life . Snowmen and nativity scenes will be sharing lawn space with candidates’ billboards. And at a time of year that’s supposed to be about coming together, and charity, brotherhood and goodwill to all, is going to be dragged into a bitter contest over the future leadership of Canada.

But all things said and done, I’m actually glad that this election is coming. Not because I favour any other party over the Liberals, who could probably use a few years out of power to remember what they’re supposed to stand for, but because it’s the only way to stall the current budget adjustments proposed by Paul Martin’s office.

For example, this year the Liberal Party has pledged to cut taxes by $5.3 billion retroactively. Someone earning $60,000 a year this year will pay about $500 less in taxes.

In total the Liberal Party plans to give back about $35 billion in taxes to Canadians over the next five years in recognition of the fact that the government has been running sizeable budget surpluses over the last decade.

So why am I opposed to getting some of my hard-earned money back?

While everyone I know could use a few extra bucks in their pockets, including myself, I don’t want to be part of another generation that sells its soul in return for a few short-term gains. I want to be part of the "buck stops here" generation that actually deals with some of the key issues of the day, that makes the hard decisions and sacrifices, and for once leaves a better world for the next generation. And I don’t even have kids yet.

Look at the Baby Boomers. They were hippy socialists in the ’60s, environmentalists in the ’70s, sold out those values in the ’80s and ’90s and are now preparing to retire in style. They are the generation responsible for globalizing the economy, for shrinking governments, for bigger cars, bigger homes, suburban sprawl, pollution, and a host of other problems.

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