Canadians are halfway through this Federal Election campaign. While the local MP campaigns have been largely quiet and without debate, the national campaigns have drawn a majority of the attention.
Party leaders have been rolling out promise after promise to lure voters to their side. But are the party leaders offering what voters really want?
A recent poll by Abacus Data asked voters what three issues would most likely impact how they would vote. The top three issues overall: the cost of living (35 per cent), health care (34 per cent) and climate change (29 per cent). The next three issues of concern were taxes, housing affordability, and good jobs/wages.
Issues such as immigration, securing the border, and standing up to US president Donald Trump were listed as far less important issues.
The bottom three issues according to the poll included: public transit (6 per cent), backroom deals (6 per cent), and Indigenous reconciliation (5 per cent).
What does this say about the campaigns thus far? Some campaigns are hitting home with voters on a few key issues. Other campaigns are barely getting their party platforms to first base. And some issues are proving to be a strikeout.
Clearly the ideas that resonate with Canadians are out there, but not all leaders or parties are connecting. In the absence of big, attention grabbing ideas, this seems to have become the election of a thousand little promises.
The lack of debate on key issues, at the national and local level, is disconcerting. So far there are only two scheduled debates in this riding. Nationally there are only three debates, two in French, one in English. Is this melee of many promises, and a lack of genuine debates a clear indication that parties, their leaders and candidates don’t really care what we, the voters, think?
Have politics devolved to the point where voters are offered little promises, in the hopes that they will become quietly complacent? We hope not.
What do we want to see? More debate around ideas, more discussion, and more engagement. We don’t want to see candidates playing to their voting base, without genuine, thoughtful, engagement.