With the global financial crisis taking centre stage coupled with the US election you would be forgiven for forgetting that there is an election going on in Canada too, which will be held in a couple of weeks.

So why is it not making international news? Partly it could be because its so boring, according to Canadian voters.

One voter writing in today’s Nanaimo Daily News argues that the “Canadian election is unfortunately a huge yawn, in large part due to the lack of enthusiasm and inspiration of our various party leaders and candidates.” The letter writer accuses, Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party of being as “dull and rigid as an unwaxed floor”. Uninspired he moans about the election “There is little about which to be excited or enthused.”

But this is an important election for all of us  – least not because of the thorny issue of oil sands and the current Canadian government’s cozying up to the oil industry. Last night in a televised debate the five Canadian party leaders debated in French.  Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe, accused Harper of being in the pocket of Big Oil. “This year, you’re giving over $2 billion in tax gifts to Big Oil,” he said.

Meanwhile the Green Leader Elizabeth May accused Harper of encouraging oil sands development that has caused harm elsewhere in Canada. “There is now some risk to Canada’s economy because of the major structural changes, because of his concern with the tarsands, which has increased the value of the Canadian dollar and as a result we’ve lost manufacturing jobs,” May said.

Harper also came under fire for his record on climate change from the Greens and Liberals. Former environmental activist and Liberal leader Stephane Dion accused Harper of stalling on climate change since coming to power in January 2006. “We were heroes against climate change” under the Liberal’s steerage, Dion said. Harper’s current plan to cut emissions is a “fraud,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Give me a break, that’s ridiculous, I’m sorry, that’s a joke,” she said.

When he launched the lection, Harper said that Canadian voters “will choose between direction or uncertainty; between common sense or risky experiments; between steadiness or recklessness.” That they may well do.

The reason that the Canadian election is not boring is because of oil sands. The current exploitation of oil sands is a risky reckless experiment with the climate that could have catastrophic effects. A common sense approach would be to stop the develop now. In Contrast Harper’s government wants to exploit it to the full. And that is why the Canadian election matters to us all.


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