Immune to election fever
Usually by this time in the election, I’m deep in the grips of an illness. I am cursing at my TV when it talks about the political parties, I am eager to cast my vote for my favourite candidate, and I am immersed in anything related to the election. However, this year it seems like the provincial election is boring and irrelevant. I’ve become immune to election fever.
On a theoretical level, this election is crucial. We live in a democracy and we need to exercise our right to vote in free and fair elections whenever the opportunity is presented. On a realistic level, though, it feels like a totally manufactured event, complete with artificial disagreements and meaningless ideological rhetoric by both sides. While watching the debate, I came to the sudden and disturbing realization that one of the men on the TV was going to be the Premier of Saskatchewan – and that I could not get excited about either of them.
Dwain Lingenfelter has all the charisma of a two-by-four wearing an orange tie. Regardless of how great his platform is, he has failed to sell it to the public. The Sask. Party has painted it as infeasible and unnecessary, and the NDP does not appear to have the wherewithal to challenge that portrayal. It’s difficult to blame this all on one person, but as the face of the NDP, Lingenfelter needs to step up to the plate and sell the party as a viable option.
Brad Wall is not off the hook, but his job is a lot easier. He basically needs to look confident and assured, and he is pulling it off really well. The argument that he has charisma, however, is certainly only in comparison to Lingenfelter. Wall is boring, the things he says are boring, and the way he says them are boring. He’s the poster boy for apathy – everything in the province is great so why even bother voting in this election? He’s portrayed as a safe option, someone with a soothing voice that promises there are no problems and that Wall will ensure things stay that way.
Wall lacks vision for this province, or, I should say, lacks long-term vision for the province. “The only day better than today in Saskatchewan is tomorrow in Saskatchewan” is a short-sighted, feel-good phrase that fails to take into account that residents experiencing the sunny days of economic growth might awake tomorrow to four feet of snow and bitterly cold temperatures. His greatest selling point is that he managed to not fuck up the province in his last four years and frankly, while it’s not the worst argument for why someone should be premier, it’s far from the best.
And perhaps worst of all, these two are the only realistic option in this election. The Green Party, the Progressive Conservatives, and the Liberals are all completely shut out of the political process in this province, whether it be by the fact that they don’t garner enough support under the first-past-the-post system to get seats or by the fact that the media consortium of CBC, CTV, and Global determined to shut out any other viewpoints from the debate.
I want a politician to inspire me. I want them to have a vision for this province beyond not messing with the status quo. Neither major party in this province has been able to deliver that and the minor parties aren’t even being given a chance. These two things combined are the best vaccination against political engagement.