Russell Wangersky: We need more substance, less sauce – from everyone

There is a lot of sizzle, but not much steak. Federal politics modeled after the cheap world of the Internet fails reasonable voters.

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There are no federal elections yet, but they will eventually.

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And when the time comes, I think a majority of Canadians will want to find something close to a middle ground than any federal party currently offers.

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I believe the vast majority of Canadians are reasonable, practical people who are pushed to one political extreme or the other.

Politics at this point seems to involve being forced to believe that you are either us or they, and whoever the “they” are, you have to somehow believe that “they” are not doing any good in absolutely everything what they do. Pierre Poilievre is the devil incarnate – no, wait, Justin Trudeau is.

It’s just not cut and dried like that.

And I don’t see any party offering a reasonable, practical, well-defined platform for what it intends to do – aat least, not yet. And it matters.

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I blame the internet for making us all louder and dumber – the internet prioritizes quick judgments, yelling and cheap shots. Real research is late to the dance – precisely because it takes time to do – and is often despised when it finally arrives.

And Canadian politics is all over that now.

You can’t reduce reasonable political policies to spirited attacks. But we have — and realize, I’m paraphrasing this next part.

“Inflation is the fault of the head of the Bank of Canada and I would fire him.”

“But inflation is happening worldwide, and how would it help to bring politics into the country’s traditionally independent financial system?”

“No questions today.”

Short, crisp, no-question clips are great fodder for television or the Internet, but a crappy way for either party to really talk about what they want to do. And while the example I just gave pretty much matches the Conservatives’ position earlier this year, the Liberals aren’t really any better.

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They’re equally invested in the feisty tit-for-tat, and that doesn’t bode well for anyone.

Because details matter.

I mean, I may not be a representative sample of any kind, but I actually like gatekeepers.

Yes, they exist in the Canadian legal and regulatory system – but they do things like keep imported cheap lead-contaminated jewelry away from our children, make sure basic standards for safe drinking water are adhered to, limit the permitted amounts of pesticides in food products. check, and the list goes on.

Through and through and through and through.

You might say, “Don’t be stupid, Russell, those aren’t the gatekeepers the Conservatives are talking about.” Well, fair enough – but which gatekeepers are the conservatives talking about? I need something more than “Firing them” or “Firing the ones we don’t like” to decide whether it’s a good idea or not.

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And don’t even get me started on the liberals.

At the risk of getting into the one-liner battle I’m complaining about, the liberals are turning themselves into that one smug, holier-than-thou poseur who so desperately wants to look like the tallest person in the world. room that they are no longer even believable. Spare me the sanctity – show me the goods.

So — on a national scale, rather than on Saskatchewan — what does it take for a federal party to get that reasonable, practical vote?

For the liberals, this means stopping casual tactical mistakes and stopping their seemingly endless pious stance on issues that are too far left for voters who have far more important issues to even concern themselves with.

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For the conservatives? We’re moving beyond quick one-liners and moving into a world of well-thought-out, practical policies to address the real-world issues they’re currently highlighting with buzzwords and hottakes.

And for the NDP? Well, in elections of the kind that seem to be coming, the focus should probably be on keeping the seats they can. In inter-party battles where the electorate thinks every vote counts, parties like the NDP can get stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

Straight away?

A smallpox on all their houses.

The current level of debate and policy explanations are not rising to the level of a high school debating club, much less presenting a party that looks like a country could be capable of.

I think reasonable people need more than fighting in the sandbox. From politicians at all levels.

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Russell Wangersky is the editor-in-chief of the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He can be reached at

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