While it is still months away there is the definite scent of a federal election in the air.
The upcoming campaign, which is already getting started if one follows the rhetoric of social media, feels as though it may be a battle fought in the mud.
The right leaning politics of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party government polarized the last election and as often happens when extremes are reached on one side, the pendulum swung hard to the left.
That swing left put Justin Trudeau in the Prime Minister’s office, and a Liberal government in power.
Traditionally the Liberal Party has been more centre, leaning in terms of where it would spot on the political spectrum, but the current edition has clearly shifted left.
The shift comes from a couple of pushes in that direction, which began with an upswing in support for the New Democrats under Jack Layton. In the 2011 election Layton led the NDP to the most successful result in the party’s history, winning 103 seats—enough to form Canada’s Official Opposition.
However, Layton would die, and with him his personal charisma which had powered the strong showing of the NDP.
Still, there was enough in the success Layton fostered to indicate there was a constituent of voters looking for a place to vote on the left of politics.
After the Harper years, the Liberals naturally moved left to counter the years of Conservative rule, and to carve off a chunk of NDP support in the post Layton-years of the party.
What we, as voters are left with, is a very polarized political landscape with the Conservatives and Liberals a long way apart on just about every issue that is likely to crop up in the upcoming election.
The problem with such polarization is that there is a huge untouched middle ground, the area of compromise and common sense where no party has residence at present.
And, therein lies a real issue for many Canadians. As a people we tend to be happiest in the middle ground, a place where we maintain a social conscience and a desire to protect our world, while still holding onto a level of fiscal responsibility that ensures our future financially as a country as well.
Without a party planted in that middle area it becomes even easier for people to turn off the political debate, and not vote. There is already a huge amount of political apathy that is already an area of concern.
We need a middle of the road party to help draw people back to the process, not increase polarization as appears to be happening heading to the next election.