Time for a change

What we need for democracy

The political landscape in Manitoba is in vast need of a shakeup. Barely a month after a shocking municipal result, the spotlight, whether Brian Bowman likes it or not, has quickly shifted to the provincial stage. This stage will feature an election within 18 months and currently hosts a governing party in a rare state of dysfunction.

One of the core principles of democracy continues to evade us at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels of electoral politics. More and more people are voting not for who they feel best represents their interests, but for the person they feel will prevent the “greater evil” from gaining power. This is not what democracy is built upon, but I myself, and those on all sides of the political spectrum, are guilty of not so subtle fear mongering that constrains the range of candidates, visions, and policies available for public consideration.

 What Manitoba needs now is something bold. It needs a brand new political party. This province has the chemistry required for such an audacious political endeavour. It is ripe with grassroots activists looking for change all across the political gamut from the environment, to the women/transgender movement, to Indigenous justice, to local economic innovation. This idea was toyed with briefly a couple years ago, but in the wrong way. The Manitoba party sought to muddy the already crowded middle by driving a wedge between the centre-left NDP and centre-right PCs. Some of the general policies and principles released included such clichés as “a provincial government must welcome debate” or “creation of a political alternative that does away with right versus left” distinctions. 

The room for the new party in this province is in fact on the “new left.” That would be the frontier staked out by a new generation of progressives for whom the status quo positions of the NDP cannot properly address the ever shifting and defining challenges of the present time. These issues include but aren’t limited to First Nations inequality, climate change and post-carbon economic transformation. 

When you see an incumbent party abundant with infighting between their highest ranking members and you have an opposition leader and party so out of touch with the needs of everyday Manitobans, you’ll naturally encounter apathy. But seeing the daily reminders of social inequalities within this city and across the province reveals the true cost of apathy. The entrance of a new political party may be exactly what is needed to end this lethargy, invigorate the politics of our province, and re-engage voters.

 A new party, not one centre of both we face now, but one with some original, passionate ideas and thoughts that centre key issues such as the environment, First Nations equality, and a new modeled sustainable economy. These are just a few stepping stones but hopefully something like this can arise to stoke the political passion from our younger generations and get people excited about what democracy stands for again.

Kieran Rice-Lampert went to Gordon Bell High School. He is a political junkie and enjoys staying afloat with current issues and sports.

Published in Volume 69, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 26, 2014)

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