by Garfield Marks
In politics there is usually a stark, very noticeable, default position.
The term “default position” refers to a belief (or lack of belief) that is preferable prior to debate or before any evidence is considered. Many people claim that some belief (or lack thereof) are default positions, so everyone who disagrees with those positions has the burden of proof.
It often begins with incumbency, slithers through partisan politics, and technical difficulties.
For many, their political default position revolves around money, call it fiscal conservatism or being a fiscal hawk but it is a safe position or rather a popular position. Many will use it as a façade to cover short term gain with long-term pain.
A possible example could be the climate change/carbon tax debate. Are we really being fiscally conservative if we save a penny now only to pay a dollar tomorrow? The default position would be to vote for immediate gain. If you disagree it is up to you to provide the proof to overcome the obvious opportunity to save a penny, now.
Premier Ford of Ontario, epitomizes the default position when he blamed the carbon tax of the Liberals for the impending GM plant closure. I can’t see how our carbon tax would force GM to close five plants, four of them being in the U.S. The Premier didn’t have to explain it but those of us who question have to prove our reason for questioning.
Premier Notley of Alberta is on the other side of the equation. Conservative is the default position in Alberta, and being that province’s first minister, she has to prove beyond the most sceptical doubt any action she takes; while conservative leaders, both provincial and federal, need just voice their opinions and they are accepted as gospel.
Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can do no right for Albertans because of the Alberta majority’s conservative default position. Their answer to any support of the federal Liberals in Alberta is often just: “N.E.P.” It is the same for any doubts expressed about a conservative position; “Liberal’s N.E.P.”
Every year the default positions of people gets more noticeable and creates unhealthy atmospheres and often times impedes progress. Parliament and legislatures could be less partisan if everyone was to just think that maybe, just perhaps, the other non-default position may have a point.
Of course it would just be easier, no thinking needed, to just stick with the default position. Just saying.