Monday, September 29, 2008

Social Serices and the Decline of the West

I went to the doctor recently which got me thinking about the end of the world. Jump aboard my train of thought, if you will. As Canadians we are incredibly lucky to have the healthcare system that we do. The other day I walked into a walk-in clinic. Well, not walked in, hopped, I sprained an ankle so walking wasn't really in the cards for me. I presented the receptionist with my healthcard, she swiped it, I waited for a few minutes, saw the doctor and hopped out. No charges, no questions asked.

What worries me is that every so often we hear this, "The healthcare system is on the verge of bankruptcy," "The system is strained to the limit," "We simply cannot continue as we are into the future." It's those damn Baby-Boomers. Yes, I level my scorn at thee. They inherited across the Western World a magnificent social safety net. Pensions, wages, healthcare, all those nifty little things that make life not only comfortable, but wonderful. For all its faults the social safety nets are beautiful.

However the Boomers became complacent. They took this new world built for them and hugged it tightly to their busom and then... had a kid or two and stopped. Population growth shuddered and screeched to a halt. Effective contraception and the liberation of women, and the shrinking of the family. Don't get me wrong, those aren't bad things (the first two are fantastic), but it means there are now there are consequences to be paid.

The oldest of the Boomers is at the moment 62 years old, and not that far from 63 I may add. Two years from retirement, and they didn't leave anyone to do their jobs. Super. Immigration has helped, but we tend not to bring in 20 year olds (costs of schooling outsourced) that will work for 45 years, we tend to bring in older adults, with limited years, at least from anecdotal observation. Most of the time spent in healthcare is in the final years of your life - I heard that once. The most costly period for a person's life to the medical system is in the last two years of their life. Again, casual observation and life experience would seem to confrim that for me.

As our social services become strained and buckle under the weight of a new gigantic elderly retired group of people I wonder what will become of our society. Will that net snap and tatter?

It makes me wonder sometimes if we're on the edge of a tectonic shift in life in the West. Whether the standard of living is about to drastically change and we are unaware. Will the pressures of a global economy lower our wages to those of the developing world? Will the middle class cease to exist?

It makes me think of the citizens of Rome who entered the fifth century, their empire in shambles, and only a century before they viewed themselves as stretching infinitely into the future. They just faded into history as the Dark Ages rose and new powers came into their own.

Is the sun setting on our way of life?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why I am Voting Conservative

In case you haven't noticed there's a Federal election on. The opinion polls indicate that the Conservatives will form a large minority or a close majority government. Frankly, I like the idea of another Conservative government. For verification please consult this website it is highly accurate,

The riding I vote in is a Liberal-Conservative riding. There's only two parties that can win in Brampton West, and that's the Liberals or the Conservatives. In recent elections I've voted NDP. It's mostly a protest vote. In the past I didn't believe in the Conservative Party's platform, or the Liberal's for that matter. The NDP and I usually agree, I don't like their 'fringe' policies, but their general spirit is something I like, the 'conscious of the parliament.' There's something about a smug, self-righteous, pious, holier-than-thou voice that really appeals to me.

The projection implies its a toss-up between the Conservative and the Liberals in the 905, leaning towards the Conservatives, which I'm comfortable with. I don't like the Liberals - at all. There's something about a party who occupies the mushy middle that irritates me. I know the Conservatives, the Greens, the NDP, and the Bloc have broader philosophy that adhere to. The Liberals are the popular poll results, "The environment is polling pretty high... I guess that's something we should look into then..."

That brings me to the next point. I don't like this focus on the environment. While I think we should switch off the carbon economy, and also I think we should be stewarts of our environment. That being said I don't think we can "shift" our entire tax structure to punish "polluters." Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, if they are we should really start taxing breathing, all things being equal.

This election also could result in something I've wanted, a Conservative minority supported by the NDP. The best of both worlds in my opinion. I don't think anyone needs to be worried about. If the Conservatives get a minority government they will be hampered by three or four political parties pulling them to the left. I understand that a majority government of the most right-wing party in this country would be upsetting. Considering is likely in such a result 60% of the populace would be voting for someone else, and yet they would have 100% of the power. Our electoral process sucks, I'll discuss this at a future time.

Let's look quickly at the people who want to be our Prime Minister.

Elizabeth May - The Green Party. Oh, Auntie May. Besides what I don't like about the Green Party (a lot, sorry Global Warming - I don't fully buy it) does anyone really believe Elizabeth May, with no parliamentary or governing experience is prepared to be prime minister? In addition she would have to election dozens of MPs to accomplish this. Highly unlikely.

Gilles Duceppe - The Bloc Quebecois. The separatists only run 75 candidates, and they're down in the polls. While Duceppe is a quite successful politician, and a pretty sharp fellow (for a separatist) he is unlikely to be PM, and the irony alone would be delicious.

Stephan Dion - The Liberal Party. I don't believe he's a bad guy, I think he's merely an idealist. Unfortunately I think the idealism is misplaced, and that the fight against global warming and carbon dioxide in the face of economic recession is ridiculous. The problems within his caucus, challenges to his leadership of the party, would make his government highly unstable.

Jack Layton - The New Democratic Party. Oh, the NDP, the far left of Canadian (elected) politics. They've never achieved government, nor come even very close. It's a shame, I'd like to see what it would look like, and if hell would freeze over, or Alberta sink into the sea. I think Layton has strong leadership, and I think he's a strong parliamentarian.

Stephen Harper - The Conservative Party. Forced into the middle. He has to moderate his views, being dragged by the other parties leftwards. He also has the concerns of a cautiously leftist people.

I'm a big fan of steady-as-she-goes government. We don't need any revolutionary policies. Sure, let's tweek it, but there's not need for a revoltion. I'm not really favouring any party right now. I'm not an environmentalist, I think we need to invest in social infrastructure, and I support the Afghan mission. No one exactly fits into my point of view, but we don't get to pick the policies, all we get is one vote. That's why I'm voting Conservative.

Starting Up

I suppose the first thing that is most important is to define the scope of the blog and the blogger. I am a university student in Ontario and I have an interest in politics. My political views have never lined up with a political party, but I find that the best way to describe myself is that I am an Orange Tory. Like all people I have views that are both left-wing and right-wing. In the past I've voted and worked for the NDP in political campaigns. That being said, I don't accept the NDP policies as being sacrosanct, in fact I think they can be very out of touch. I believe the Liberals are power hungry and without a strong moral compass. The Conservatives aren't quite where I am. I am a federalist social democrat with moderate tendencies.

That's where I got the name from, Orange Tory, a spin on the term Red Tory, or Blue Liberal.

I will be writing commentaries, and reactions to news and of course my favourite, predictions. I also will give my views and opinions on social issues, and events. I had a blog before, but I found that I limited myself too much to just the political. I think I will use this as a vehicle to express opinions I have about anything and everything. Less CBC's The National, and more Rick Mercer's Rants.