Saturday, October 08, 2011

Elections: Canada vs. SL

Image from here

The provincial elections for Ontario were held on Thursday, and unless you were really following it, you wouldn’t have even known that there was an election going on.

No posters
No colorful flags
No banners, billboards, and cut-outs
No vehicle parades
No goon convoys
No disturbance of peace
No violence
No causing inconvenience to the public

In other words, it was very civilized.

It doesn’t mean that they don’t do campaigning. They do, but in a more calm and collected way. They carry on in a way that it doesn’t cause any problems to the general public, because if they inconvenience the public, then they are more likely to lose votes rather than garner them. Some candidates take it to the personal levels, hanging out with the constituents at the corner deli and such. I even met one outside a metro station handing out flyers with only one assistant, at night time too. Can we really imagine our politicians doing that?

In a rare incident there was some election violence though. Was it murder? Beating? Arson? Nope, some supporters of the Liberal party got their car tires slashed and graffiti painted on their walls. That was it, and the media made a very big deal out of that. With the things we are used to, this was like child’s play.

During one of the previous times I was here, there was a general election to elect the prime minister, and I only knew it because of the TV ads. I think even the Canadians were more excited about the 2008 US election than their own elections.

I hope someday the way politics is done in Sri Lanka will change. I want to see educated, capable people running for office, starting from the municipality level up to the parliament. I want people to cast their votes based on the work carried out by the candidate, rather than the promise of a lunch packet and a bottle of arrack. I would like to see our representatives and public officials elected or appointed based on the merit of their work and capabilities, and not on how much money they can throw around, who they know, how many goons they can muster etc.

Furthermore, the amount of money spent on political campaigns, not only in Sri Lanka even in other countries, are disgusting. Especially in a country like ours, can you really justify spending obscene amounts of money for something trivial like a municipal election when so many people are trying to make ends meet. This money could have helped keep several deserving families fed, clothed and sheltered for many months. I understand that you need to advertise and campaign to get you image and message across to the populace, but there is a line between what is acceptable and not.

Let’s hope that the next generation will be better than the current one at this game of politics.

One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician's objective. Election and power are.
Cal Thomas


Lady divine said...

wow! I think countries like ours and India etc... should actually learn from this kind of election campaigns..

then again, the louder you scream, the more money you show etc.... you know how our people's mentality works..

As for the last line, it's just perfectly said! :)

Azrael said...

yeah LD, i don't know when things will change.