I watch the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC] news on an almost nightly basis so I have been watching Peter Mansbridge’s interviews with each of the four national party leaders this past week. As an undecided and nonpartisan voter in a system where the prime minister is chosen by tallying up the number of seats won by local politicians across the country, I am interested in what party leaders have to say in order to cast my ballot locally. Based on the interviews [there are many other things to consider], I have ranked each of the leaders as to who would make the best next prime minister of Canada. I’ve also added an anecdote about each of their religious convictions and/or affiliations along with a link to an article.
1. Elizabeth May. What a surprise! Perhaps she was more relaxed because she does not seem to have a realistic chance of actually becoming the prime minister, but in my opinion she outperformed all of the other leaders by a country mile. She was pleasant, honest, candid, and actually answered the questions that were asked of her instead of dancing around with political B.S. as the other three did. The best example was the last question where Mr. Mansbridge asked, “What about you? Why do you think you would make the best prime minister?” She was the only one to answer the question directly and what she said definitely endeared her to me. She talked about her positive approach—not maligning any of the other leaders—her willingness to be conciliatory, and her openness to work with all parties. This to me is a basic Christian principle of leadership. Perhaps it is because she is the only leader with theological education!
Elizabeth May is probably the most open about her faith than any of the national leaders. She is an active member of an Anglican church in her riding in Sidney and considers her politics to be an integral part of her faith. http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/an-activist-an-anglican-a-political-leader
2. Justin Trudeau. This rating in second place also kind of surprised me as I had not been very impressed with him before. It seemed that the “just not ready” line might actually be true but his performance in the interview was heartening. During the campaign so far and also in the interview, it sometimes seems like the Liberals and NDP are trading places as far as policy goes. His answers seemed to be advocating more for indigenous people, the poor, refugees, etc. than the NDP who has traditionally been the party of the lower classes. I was shocked when he admitted that his father had begun the autocratic style in the PMO and he then added that he then thought it appropriate that he end it.
Justin Trudeau might appear to be the most secular of the leaders according to some of his public statements on religion and politics but the article includes a surprise on this. http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/10-surprising-revelations-from-justin-trudeau-s-new-memoir-1.2060009
3. Thomas Mulcair. His performance in the house as an opposition leader has been lauded but he did not come across well in the interview. When asked about the accusation that his leadership style was just as autocratic as Harper’s he did not have an assuring answer for me; it seemed like the accusation might actually be true.
Thomas Mulcair grew up as a traditional Catholic with an Irish Catholic father and French Catholic mother and has become a progressive Catholic in his faith and politics. http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-fights-of-his-life/
4. Stephen Harper. As many people, including previous Conservative voters, are realizing: it is time for a change. Mr. Harper seemed defensive, angry, and condescending—like a man who is becoming aware that he is losing power.
Stephen Harper grew up Presbyterian/United Church and is presently a member of a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Calgary. This is well known to most evangelical voters but this article says that he continues to maintain a link to his background as well. http://www.ucobserver.org/faith/2015/03/harper/
Policy that aligns with the good news of SHALOM for all people should be a top priority when considering who to vote for. Mennonite Central Committee has an excellent resource on this at: http://mcccanada.ca/media/resources/3511