The four vital issues that won’t be discussed in the upcoming election

The four vital issues that won’t be discussed in the upcoming election

For all intents and purposes, tomorrow is the expiration date for the 40th Canadian Parliament. This means that, for the next six- to eight-week election campaign, there will be plenty to talk about. There will also be plenty not talked about. Some issues are so politically radioactive that, no matter how vital they may be to the health of the nation, no leader will touch them. Here, we speculate on what we won’t be hearing from Iggy, Harpy and Lay this spring.

Carbon Pricing
This one’s a no-brainer, which is a shame because it’s really something that the country needs to talk about. We won’t, though. Ever since Stephane Dion’s Green Shift efforts imploded, the Liberals have tried hard to never be seen in the same room as someone whispering about a price on carbon (or, as the Conservatives call it, a “job-killing-tax-on-everything”). The Greens and NDP may bring it up, but in terms of the broader election, it’s just not on.

Sure, World Water Day was this week, but how Canada will deal with the demands of an increasingly thirsty continent in the 21st century is such a downer, and with no easy answers. Besides, it doesn’t play in to the dominant narrative that the Conservatives and Liberals are duelling over (the economy and ethics), so who cares?

Real Political Reform
The Conservatives talked a good game about reform back when they were elected in 2006, but the only substantial reforms they’ve brought in are the Parliamentary Budget Officer and their fixed election law. Neither of which has turned out to have the teeth that would prevent abuses. In fact, serious reforms—things like abrogating the prime minister’s right to prorogue Parliament—would mean opening up the constitution, and nobody wants to talk about that now. Oh, and anyone hoping for our leaders to discuss proportional representation should probably just buy a case of beer and not watch the news until after May 9.

The Military
Whether it’s Afghan detainees (which is something we’d like to know more about) or our brand new war in Libya (which got a whopping few hours of debate this week), we suspect that nobody really wants to raise anything except for possibly F-35 jets. A more thorough, critical look at what we’re actually doing with, and to, the Canadian Forces will have to wait.

All of this stuff is important, but none of it particularly helps one party or another. So we suspect it will get swept under the rug. After all, in the words of former prime minister Kim Campbell, “an election is no time to discuss serious issues.”

(Images: Ottawa, Daryl Mitchell; smoke stack, Peter Grima; sign, woodleywonderworks)