It is a disgrace to Canada and to the democratic process to see politicians use an election to create divisions in our society based on envy, jealousy, and suspicion.
In the news last week, Stephen Harper pitted ordinary Canadians against successful artists, whereas virtually all Canadian artists come from ordinary families, started in their living room, and needed help to develop. Harper also regularly pits working Canadians against some ill-defined enemy although some 94 per cent of Canadians currently have work.
For years, Conservatives have pitted landowners against environmentalists (which includes practically everyone), whereas landowners are in fact dedicated stewards of our landscape and resources.
Jack Layton pits kitchen tables against boardroom tables, whereas a successful economy is a partnership between employees and employers in creating jobs and building businesses. New Democrats will vilify the big bad corporations in one moment and then beg them to stay in Canada and create jobs in the next moment.
In politics, there is the acceptable notion of campaigning on wedge issues. There is no problem in asking people to choose between option A and option B on a difficult question. But instead, Harper and Layton choose wedge groups to divide our society, asking people to identify themselves with one group and vilify some other group. It is a typical Bush republican tactic, when your ideas do not receive broad support, to create a fictional enemy and stir up resentment.
I long for real leaders such as St- Laurent, Pearson, Trudeau, and Dion who seek inclusion over exclusion, who present a vision for a better future, who unite us across our differences to achieve a common goal, and who show respect for all instead of disdain for many.