I was just checking out a forum where people were chatting about the leadership contenders in the upcoming federal election and it became suddenly obvious why Canada is in such a state.

Peoples comments there reflected the lack of deep understanding on how our system is supposed to function and on what basis our democratic form of government was set up.

Canada was founded on the principles that there would be representation of the people from within, and that we would be able to elect the men, and later women, who we felt would do the best for us. I don’t think that has changed, but I think that our perception of a good leader is way off track. Let me explain.

Canadians feel that they should vote for candidates that say they share the same views, however, most voters do not take the time to verify that the candidate, if an incumbent, has ever voted the way he or she states they do.

I constantly hear people refer to candidates with the disclaimer, “He has been in politics a long time, he has experience.” Call me blind, but I simply do not understand how this is a real credential. Has the candidate ever worked for a living? Has the candidate any experience with a family, with taxpaying? Have they struggled like you and I? Over and over again I hear candidates being discounted because of a lack of experience. These are exactly the kind of people that we need. The ‘career’ politician is aptly named, and has spent an entire career helping themselves. We need to elect average Canadians with ethics and morals. Only then will there be a change in the ethics and morals of our elected representatives.

Another comment I hear is that “he is a poor speaker” or “he has no flair.” Personally, I find a smooth talker and a charmer to be the most dangerous form of politician. There have been many a bad leader smooth talk his way into even worse policy. We need to look at a candidates substance. Are they honest? Are they forthright? Do they spin their answers or just come right out and give them? Pay close attention to our current leader. Very seldom does he answer a question without going into a full length dialogue. I am not trying to cast a shadow on him, (not this time, anyway,) but it is something that Canadians should take notice of. To be fair, all of the leaders sometimes do this, but some of them have made not answering the question an art form.

I find their spin like a notorious party drug. It lulls us into a state of semi-consciousness where we are coddled and wooed. We wake up to a bad government and don’t remember helping them get there.

Another new trend is for the parties to try and woo us with Hollywood North glitz. Our American cousins seem taken aback whenever a Hollywood star runs for office. The same trend is starting to appear here, with the Liberals enlisting the star power of North of 60 actress Tina Keeper. I don’t know much about her, and she may indeed be a fine person worthy of our vote. But when the press lauds her because of her acting career, what does that tell us? Will we elect people because of their celebrity? I hope not.

There are many fine candidates available to Canadians and they belong to all parties. Canadians must get a new measuring stick with which to size them up. Throw away the one that says “smooth talker, looks good on camera” away, and use the one that measures “honesty, trustworthiness, conviction, and sincerity.”

Most importantly, stop letting the polls dictate your voting patterns. Find the candidate that measures up and vote for him or her. This is the correct way to vote; the way that the founders intended us to vote. If we keep sending the same types of people to Ottawa, nothing will ever change for the better. Nothing.

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