Elections Musing

By Gordon Kubanek

Why are so many Canadians in such a rotten mood? 

Another day, another day of people talking about how to keep “Business as Usual” going. The problem is that we are no longer in the Age of “Business as Usual”. Take the cost of housing as an example — what is this red flag telling us? My interpretation is that government policy aiming to keep the economy growing is what underlies this disaster. Canada is now almost 30% more dependent on real estate than the United States was during their housing bubble. In other words, the single largest sector of economic activity in Canada is now real estate! The situation resembles a Ponzi scheme. That is why when the pandemic hit and economic activity slowed down, interest and mortgage rates were kept so low, that they are now way below inflation. What that means is that people are getting free, no, I correct myself, they are being paid to borrow money. Naturally, given the emotional reality of Covid, people went on a binge. Unfortunately, like any boom that I know of, it will end in a bust. Now, I am not predicting that prices will plunge [which is unlikely in the short term], but that our descent into the American disease of increasing disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots” will accelerate. Don’t get me wrong, I am someone who personally benefits from high housing prices. However, I know that my wealth is being created in a way that is making the lives of younger generations much more difficult, and I deem that both morally and practically disgraceful.  

Here is the punchline. As a Green Party candidate in every election, provincial or federal, since 2007, my message has always been the same: Let’s live within our means!  We must consider our emotional means [there are a LOT of really anxious and depressed youth out there], our fiscal means  [our personal debt is now much higher than the Americans who we used to make fun of], and the significant one – our ecological means. All the red lights are warning us that we have exceeded our limits – we are not living within our means. Whether we examine the climate disaster, the 6th mass extinction, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, the Opioid crisis, or the Covid-19 pandemic – at their root, all of these crises are telling us the same thing: to change and live within our means. Does that make me a Conservative? Yes it does. Does that make me a progressive? Yes it does.  

Here is a final note. Despair, anger, and denial are normal human reactions when people are confronted with issues they feel they can do nothing about. Feeling powerless brings people great distress. People today know, in their guts, that things are not quite right. But they have no idea what to do about it. The calling of an election by the Liberals during summer vacation [an opportunistic and unnecessary election in my opinion], certainly did not help matters. The 4th wave of Covid-19 and calls for vaccine passports did not help, for even as most Canadians [including myself] want it, it does signal that “the good old days” are not returning. So, what does all of this mean? Simply, as I mentioned in the introduction, “Business as Usual” is over. Which political party is brave enough to say so and has realistic pathways to improve the quality of life for ALL Canadians [not just those who own 1 million dollar homes]? The Green Party does. 

So on election day, be brave, and see the world as full of opportunities that will transform our current challenges into a better quality of life for current and future generations. Vote Green. Vote for Gord on election day. 

Gordon Kubanek, P.Eng. 

Third Order Franciscan & Writer 

Gordon Kubanek featured with Green Party leader, Annamie Paul.