David McConkey - Columnist, Consultant, Citizen
Columnist. Consultant. Citizen.

Politically Incorrect Issues This Election

Brandon Sun, September 28, 2015 - David McConkey

“An election,” Prime Minister Kim Campbell said 20 years ago, “is no time to discuss serious issues.” She’s right, of course. But what if, during an election, we DID discuss serious issues?

Here are seven such issues. But discuss them during an election? Sorry, no: best to overlook them. For example, the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge did not mention any of these issues when he sat down recently with the party leaders. Like the matter of physician-assisted dying mentioned here two weeks ago, these issues are just too serious, too important, and too politically incorrect.
Raising these questions reflects the failure of the Stephen Harper decade. But it also reflects a more general failure. A failure – to quote Preston Manning (and Donald Trump!) – to “think big.” And this is a failure of the opposition parties, of the media, and of us – the citizens.


Perhaps the biggest existential threat of our time is from radical Islam. But it is rather uncomfortable for us to talk about religion, eh? Case in point: much easier to talk about refugees than to talk about the dysfunctional Islamic societies that created the current refugee crisis.

And we are ignoring the Islamic elephant in the room: Saudi Arabia. Remember: women there are kept under virtual house arrest. People there are jailed, whipped, and even beheaded – just because they don’t follow Islam. And throughout the world, Saudi Arabia funds fundamentalist mosques that promote sexism, violence and terrorism.

Yet Canada is selling billions of dollars in arms to Saudi Arabia.

Voters and politicians: please discuss!


We are shocked by stories of aboriginal women and children being abused and even killed: in their own homes, in institutions, and in the community. So, let’s have an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. But let’s have the inquiry include a focus on prevention and on the future. Like: can the inquiry help aboriginal (and all) women by exploring strategies for protection, consciousness raising, and empowerment?

And what about the bigger picture – the legalized racism of the Indian Act? This perpetuates racial segregation and discrimination. It also fosters what has been called the soft bigotry of low expectations. So, why don’t we discuss ending this racist system?


This is the major environmental (and perhaps the biggest) issue we face. And yet politicians blithely talk about “growing the economy” as if there were no environmental limits to growth.

Taking action on climate change is not going to be simple, easy or cheap. So can we think long term: longer than a 10-second sound bite or even a four-year electoral term?


We ask a lot of our military: combat, peacekeeping, and more. But we have gotten used to government bungling and cutbacks. Like neglecting our veterans and stalling on the purchase of new equipment.

Support our troops? Easy to say – and then to forget. But let’s not forget. Let’s discuss the role of the military and how to pay for the costs.


Can we have a more productive approach to taxes? (This is a “lower-case c” conservative position.) Like raising the GST, lowering income taxes, and ending the Harper “boutique” tax credits like the ones for fitness, transit, and home renovations.

And what’s all this talk from Harper and other politicians about reducing taxes? The reality? Better countries usually have higher taxes. Harper election ads want us to look at Greece: but the problem there is low taxes. When Germany and the others bail Greece out, they make the bailouts on condition that Greece raise its taxes!

We should be prepared to pay higher taxes, for one thing, to better support our troops. And to pay new carbon taxes to fight climate change. How about some honesty here?


Retired drug warriors worldwide acknowledge the disaster that is the War on Drugs. Yet Harper has ramped up this futile war, even for the simple possession of marijuana.

Can we discuss how we can legalize – and regulate – not only marijuana, but all drugs?


One of the saddest features of the Harper decade has been its anti-intellectual climate. Like the downgrading of the census. And the shutting down of research programs, libraries, and archives.

You know what is really embarrassing about the Harper era? The celebration of stupidity and ignorance. Like: let’s build more prisons and then gleefully dismiss any criticism because it comes from “university types”!

Can we bring back a respect for facts, for evidence-based thinking, and for science?

* * * *
See also:  

Don’t worry, be happy. Be a Harper voter!

Book Looks at Islamic World

Retired Brandon Judge Speaks Out

More Emphasis on Domestic Violence Prevention is Crucial

This Changes Everything

War and Remembrance

Tax Time Offers Folks a Chance to Reflect

Reflections on The War on Drugs

A More Thoughtful Approach to Racial Issues is Required

Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data

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David McConkey,
Brandon, Manitoba
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Some Reviewed Books:

The War on Drugs:
A Failed Experiment

War on Drugs

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The Atheist Muslim:
A Journey from Religion to Reason


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Stranger Than We Can Imagine:
An Alternative History of the 20th Century


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Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now


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Islam and the Future of Tolerance:
A Dialogue

Islam Future

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Extraordinary Canadians:
Nellie McClung

Extraordinary Canadians Nellie Mcclung

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The Greatest Show on Earth:
The Evidence for Evolution

Greatest Show on Earth

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