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Letters to the editor, October 10, 2013 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Red (and orange and blue) bull

Tim Bousquet's article, "The Politics of Bullshit" (October 3), certainly contains elements of truth. A principal reason I've been working with Project Democracy on electoral and political reform is that the present systems in Canada are increasingly dysfunctional and incline politics towards zero-sum hyper-partisanship, with the kinds of results Bousquet describes. What he terms the "politics of bullshit" is, in my view, largely caused by the distortions of the corporate kleptocracy, which is increasingly more powerful than national governments, and more pernicious in its influence.

That said, Bousquet's article adopts the most cynical of all possible attitudes and doesn't mesh with how I see politics actually being practiced on the ground, both by many politicians who---while clearly jousting in a partisan ring---nevertheless care deeply about their communities; and, at least in the party I am familiar with, the membership and committees who work with sincere constructive commitment on many issues.

It's also not how I see the vast amount of "retail politics" (ie constituency work) being conducted by the politicians I know. It's not the case that politicians aren't concerned with climate change, poverty or quality of life. From the caucus on down, there are groups wrestling with the many dimensions of these issues.

It is the case that major and necessary systemic changes to the way we conduct politics are not being contemplated by any of the parties. How to accomplish these? I honestly don't know. I'm increasingly of the opinion that society does not act on such issues without being forced. When sea levels rise on the Nova Scotia coastline, crops begin to incinerate in the summer heat and boatloads of climate-change refugees from Bangladesh start arriving on our shores, then we may start to pay attention.

Until then, too many will pre-occupy themselves with whether we should build a football stadium at Dartmouth Crossing or the rundown state of washrooms in the Victoria General hospital. —Christopher Majka, Project Democracy


It is an an honourable thought that a party would stick by its values and ideology. But it makes perfect sense that the parties don't---it's an expensive investment to perform such an exercise. Pander for votes; once elected, impose your true ideology. Unfortunately, once elected the next election on the horizon potentiates the pandering cycle.

The sad truth is that democracy is such an inefficient process. A relatively fair process, but an inefficient one. To boot, it's a tough gig to be a politician---we expect them to be experts on everything. They are expected to deliver results when even the leaders from academia and business aren't sure how to deliver them. What we're left with is a game of trial and error in which we usually don't know what causes many of our successes or failures.

On the other hand maybe all of this points us to a silver lining: Maybe the reason we have three parties with similar ideologies is that we have it almost all figured out. Life is pretty good. Broadly speaking, there exists some level of food, housing, health and education security. Perhaps the similarities come from the fact each party recognizes that we aren't far off from our potential and that difference can only be made up by tweaks here and there (a tax break for you instead of you).

Maybe that also explains voter apathy. Why vote if you're confident that (or at least not scared to death that) any party would do a reasonable job running things. —posted by DSmith at thecoast.ca


Stephen McNeil and his party will last four years and then be turfed in favour of Baillie (if he sticks around). Every country, state, city and town buys business. There's nothing special in Nova Scotia that any business should locate here---we are less than 1,000,000 people on a continent of about 400,000,000.

By the time of the next federal election the rose will be off the Liberal brand in Nova Scotia and voters will have their say. Fickle people. —posted by Joeblow

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