Every day I have been going to the CBC’s main news homepage and every day the headlines leading up to the election are frustrating. Every day the headlines are politics that, in my opinion, appear to be an attempt to skirt around politics. Maybe it’s just that in this exceptionally long election campaign, suddenly everything is fair game – well, everything with the exception of actual important campaign portfolios and issues.
Since a photo of a dead refugee boy surfaced, all day every day the news is full of refugee headlines. I recently wrote about the refugee crisis, so I don’t mind all this new information. But it does feel like pandering.
Now there’s the Niqab. After the Federal Court of Canada ruled that it is unlawful to require new citizens to remove their face coverings during the oath swearing part of citizenship ceremonies. As Rex Murphy pointedly articulated in March, 2015, “it’s vastly overinflated, politically inspired, media driven and a diversion from issues of braoder consequence and genuine signifiance”.
The “so-called Niqab debate”, as Murphy puts it, is an absurdity in the middle of this election, where freedom of religion is seemingly posited against an assumption of guilt – that the future citizen would refuse to actually utter the oath under the secrecy of her hood. But this is not an election issue and my opinion on the subject is irrelevant because that issue is one of legal prowess alone. Leave it to the courts. It’s not an election issue.
Then we have the name calling. Today, we can read that Justin Trudeau was “subtly racist”. Journalist Desmond Cole seemingly exercised a preference to have flash in the pan fame rather than to ask the follow-up. Cole is a well-respected journalist and I don’t opine on his analysis. But a news story about his Twitter feed Storify where analysis is presented as solid journalism is frustrating and adds to the general tenor of this election: say what you want, when you want. What happened to all of the sides? All we get from Trudeau on this story is presented as a one-liner from the CBC. This isn’t on point. There’s no depth here.
Then there’s a story about Harper denying that his “campaign pledge to support the Terry Fox Foundation” was not done to garner traction in the election, but rather was to honour an agreement made with the charity.
We can read a story about Mulcair’s promise to freeze the same EI premiums that Harper is going to cut. We can also read a story about Mulcair having to apologize for using the term “Newfie” in 1996.
Meanwhile, all I want to know is what any of you have to offer. I don’t care who did what else. I do not care what somebody did 20 years ago. I don’t care about somebody’s awkward handling of discussions about a cultural realm that he has no idea how to discuss. I don’t care about a party leader manipulating a charity because ploy or no ploy, the charity will have more. What’s more: if people can’t tell by now that refugees and charitable work aren’t really the concerns of certain parties, it’s because you’re planning to vote with that Party.
It’s frustrating to read the news because instead of becoming informed about campaign issues and election platforms I feel like I’m watching three kids bickering and fighting for teacher’s attention. Not one of them has anything to say for themselves that would suggest they deserve to be her favourite pupil, they just keep piping in about how so-and-so did this, and so-and-so did that.
I’m dying to hear about some real campaign issues, so here’s my request: stop bashing each other and start showing why you’re awesome. Give the media something to write about so we can stop reading about the mean things you’re saying about each other. I’m sure you each must have some reason why you want to lead this country other than a desire to pummel the others.