There are a few things in life that really set me off. Right now, with the federal election just called, one of those things is hearing someone say “I do not really like Stephen Harper, but who else is there to reasonably vote for?”

I can respect someone having political convictions that I do not agree with. But to pair an offensive political statement with a disclaimer, and worse, with some sort of claim to reasonableness, just blows my mind.

The vast majority of Canadians did not, and never have voted for Stephen Harper as Prime Minister, or the Conservative Party (drop the “Progressive” precursor). It is the height of arrogance to say that unlike the majority of the population, who you consider unreasonable, you can discern that all the other options are crap, and you are voting for the least crappy.

I get it! There is only one seat-holding party on the right, and four parties on the centre-left. You cannot vote for the socially-progressive, but fiscally conservative party, or the fiscally-conservative and regressive-socially reform or Alliance party as in past elections. But own up to it! If people who openly support the NDP party have to bear your false accusations of being Communists, then you must bear the even more damning accusation (and by association, not inaccurate) labels of bigots, homosexual haters, and old-Earth deniers.

If you truly believe that Canada should be based on “traditional Christian values,” then by all means, I can respect this. I will never agree, and I will defend the rights of minorities these values suppress, but you are at least owning up to it. As such, I expect you to vote for the Christian Heritage Party, since the Conservative Party has done absolutely nothing to address the waning pull of social conservatism. The promises of defending the traditional family have fallen flat. (And by the way, I will encourage social conservatives to look up how Stephen Harper has voted on such legislation issues as far back as the early 90’s)

But I truly believe that the vast majority of traditional conservatives are starting to ask bigger questions. It is an attitude reflected even in the current Pope’s sudden left turn on political agendas the Catholic Church is now pushing. The values of the “Traditional Family” are still under threat, but it is not due to same-sex marriage. Climate change, environmental degradation, species annihilation, over-consumerist capitalism and third world debt are now officially the biggest concerns of the Catholic Church.

The thing about living in pluralism, is that one soon realizes just how unattractive a society of like-minded individuals with narrow world-views really is. With pluralism comes more choice for products. Much better food. More entrepreneurial experiments. Better art, better science.

Here are some stats:

Stephen Harper is 56 (he was 47 when he assumed office as PM); Education – BA, MA.

Justin Trudeau is 43; Education – BA, BED, started an MA.

Thomas Mulcair is 60; Education – BA, Law degree, private practice.

Elizabeth May is 61; Education – BA, Law degree, family practice.

Despite what the attack ads might try to say, only Thomas Mulcair and Elizabeth May have any business experience. Both Trudeau and Harper have spent their entire lives theorizing; Trudeau as a teacher (which is very respectable, though portrayed as somehow a deficiency by Conservative attack ads) and Harper as a Reform, Alliance and Conservative Politician and policy writer, with a small break working for conservative lobby groups such as the National Citizen’s Coalition.

Harper was only three years older than Trudeau when he became Prime Minister. Thomas Mulcair has more experience in government than any of the other party leaders, and more than some of them combined. The National debt has jumped from $481 billion to $612 billion since Harper became Prime Minister. The only other jump in Canadian debt that comes close to comparable was under Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative Party). This jump in debt by Harper also hides hundreds of millions of dollars of reduced Provincial Transfer Payments which has increased Provincial debt load.

When I hear someone say that the only reasonable option is Harper, I want to call it out for what it is – sheer intellectual laziness. It is obvious that this individual has not done any research, listened to any of the other leaders or party members, or studied any social or economic history. I guess all I can ask is this – have you ever voted for someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum? I have. Sometimes you have to vote for the most reasonable candidate, even if you do not agree entirely with what they represent. I believe that 80 percent of Canadians are undecided on whom they will vote for. This is a good thing. It means democracy is at work. As for the other 20 percent, I guess some people will always refuse to leave their comfort zones. That is your right, but it is not reasonableness.

Happy Longest Election in Canadian Memory!

Joseph Nusse,