There is an old platitude that says that governments are defeated, not elected. In other words, voters tend not to vote for a new party based on what they expect that party to do but against the current party in power based on what that government has already done.
The corollary is that the longer a government is in power, the more things it has done and the more reasons there are for people to vote against it.
From my own observations, I have become convinced that there is also a boredom factor. Simply put, in our entertainment age, people (including news reporters) become easily bored and begin looking for something new—in clothes, TV programs, and politicians. When looking at what they currently have, they take the positive aspects for granted and focus on the negatives. Which partially explains the high divorce rate in our society.
The current Canadian election campaign can be understood in one sense as a referendum on Stephen Harper and his Conservative government. Since that government has been in power for almost 10 years, some of the factors mentioned above are certainly coming into play.
But what exactly have Stephen Harper and his Conservative government done?
We may think we know, but do we?
My friend John H. Redekop, a well respected political scientist, has supplied the answers. He recently published a book called The Harper Record. The book is a compilation (in chronological order) of virtually every major action the Harper government has taken. There is also a useful index which brings together all of the items by topic, so that the reader can see what actions were taken on immigration, taxes, economic policies, and a host of other issues. As well, there are several useful appendices on such things as past elections and current Canadian population statistics.
For those who are truly political junkies and/or those who want something a little more fun, Redekop has also published an enlarged book, The Tory Book, which contains everything in The Harper Record and more. The more is a series of daily readings for a whole year. The readings for each day include a definition of a “tory” word (initiatory, consignatory, dictatory, consistory, etc.), some humour (“What this country needs is more unemployed politicians”), a few wise sayings (“The sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world”), and a listing of events from “This day in history.”
While a generally conservative bias might be discerned in the material, these books are not political propaganda. They are primarily information. However we vote this fall, Canadians have an obligation to make their vote an informed vote. That means that they should find out as much as they can about both the current Conservative government and the opposition parties.
Both The Harper Record and The Tory Book are published by The JHR Book Company and are available via some bookstores and online retailer Amazon.