In the late 1950s or early 1960s the great editorial cartoonist Duncan MacPherson produced a gem which came to mind as the current election campaign comes to an end. The cartoon depicted the three leaders of the main political parties of the time Lester Pearson, John Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas. All three were strumming on banjos and singing in unison “At election time in this countree, bribe them with their own monee, bribe them with their own monee”. How little has changed in the intervening 60 years as Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole and Jagmeet Singh crisscross the country making endless promises of more federal spending on everything under the sun.
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The party leaders have to varying degrees focussed their campaigns on issues such as health care, affordable housing, children and infrastructure, and to a lesser extent on climate change and gun control. Now these are all worthy topics of debate, even if some of the promises made sound totally unrealistic given Canada’s current economic and financial situation. But does this really exhaust the list of topics which are of interest, or should be of interest, to Canadians? It seems to me that there are a number of subjects which have attracted no or little attention during the campaign, but which should have.
Among the overlooked issues is the opioid crisis. This is one which has been largely swept under the COVID-19 carpet. While there is no doubt that the pandemic deserves all of the attention it has received, it should not be at the expense of another major health and social problem. The number of deaths due to opioid overdoses has been…