Global issues at the forefront of this election

It’s interesting how the dominant discourse this federal election has gone from “not in my backyard” to “not in my country”.

Debate and rhetoric surrounding the niqab, and the right for a Canadian to vote with their face covered, is seemingly one of the greatest challenges Canadians face in their day-to-day lives. While it’s a topic of merit, you’d think our political leaders would have more pressing concerns.

Whether it’s a matter of identity politics or a true concern about the safety and security of Canadians is up for debate. Either way, it’s encouraging to see how global issues have come to the forefront of this election.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that proposes a framework for trade between countries in the west and Pacific Rim, is expected to have real, tangible impacts on Canadian businesses large and small. Depending on whom you ask, the TPP is the greatest, most ambitious trade deal ever or a potential deathblow to innovation and manufacturing jobs.

We’ve seen how the creation of the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act, and later the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to Bunge and a Saudi Arabian agricultural company, directly affected farmers in the prairies, for better or for worse.

Many progressive types have said the passing of anti-terrorism legislation Bill C-51 is by far the most important issue of the election for them. And Syrian refugees find themselves in the peculiar situation of being used as clubs against other political leaders.

I’m happy to see people recognize that these global issues do in fact trickle down into their day-to-day lives. Too often we as Canadians are too insular in what we demand from our politicians.

It’s important to be concerned about what’s going on in our backyard, but it’s dangerous to a cling to this silo mentality.

In addition to being the longest election campaign since, well, ever, there’s also a lot on the table this federal election. Deficit or no deficit? Income splitting or no income splitting? Legalized marijuana? National cap and trade program? New taxes or no new taxes?

The options are substantial and the three main party’s platforms are quite distinct from one another.

Every election is important, but I feel like this one is particularly important. Perhaps Canadians agree with me – Elections Canada has reported that more than 3.6 million Canadians voted at advance polls during the Thanksgiving weekend, an increase of 71 per cent compared to the 2011 election.

It’s going to be an interesting election night.

And as much as global issues do matter, let’s not forget that this election is ultimately about Canada. Whether you’ve already voted or plan to on Oct. 19, remember your vote is a vote for the Canada you want to see.


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