We have a federal election in May. The last one was in 2008. Then, in our riding, we had a by-election in 2009. There will also be city elections this fall, and there are rumours of a provincial election. Add to that, leadership races for both of our major provincial parties, and when I bring up "the election" with people, they most often say, "which one?"
Oh yeah, there's a referendum this month in Port Moody about building a new Fire Hall.
I'm with everyone who is feeling a bit burnt out over all of these elections. But then I give myself a shake. They are elections according to the law and our system of government, and they are happening, like snow or chicken pox or puppies. Whether you wish them for now or not, you'd best participate. What if they threw an election and nobody showed up? The thing is, people do show up because it's our chance to have a say in who is representing us, leading us and taking care of us. And while I know it's not perfect, I am sure that we have a better deal in terms of leaders and systems of government than more than half of the rest of the world. We have a vote. Nobody kills us if we vote for the wrong person. For the most part it's fair and legal, with equal opportunity, and the person we elect does his or her best for us. Come on, it's not that much to ask that we wake up our brains, think about ourselves as a collective and consider our future and that of our children and vote.
So that's the background situation. Of course, I'm volunteering again. I'm supporting Fin Donnelly, our NDP MP, for re-election. Alex is helping out too. On Monday I walked door to door with Fin, and I followed up on Tuesday, putting out some lawn signs at houses where the residents said they would like a sign. I like Fin a lot as a leader and representative. He's smart and caring and authentic. He's done a good job in the House of Commons for us, presenting a half a dozen private members' bills already. He knows his constituents and his riding. In fact, he grew up here. We knocked on doors Monday where he knew the families from his elementary school days. Fin is a good listener and responds with intelligence and integrity to the things people say to him and ask him. He works hard for us and is connected to issues that affect our lives. Fin's best known for swimming all the way down the Fraser River two times, to draw attention to the need to protect the salmon and their river habitat.
As a campaign volunteer, I like door-knocking and election day best of all. It's exciting to be out and part of the effort to get votes, and I like getting to know the candidate. I have (in various other elections) also dropped fliers on doorsteps, gone door to door without the candidate, worked at the phone bank and participated in curbside sign-waving sessions. As one of the more "rah-rah" participants in the election, I have encountered the frustration of people who are unhappy about the intrusiveness of the campaign. I have spoken with people who are frustrated by numerous phone calls, including automated recorded messages, "Hello! This is Jack Layton!" "Hi, I'm Stephen Harper!" "Hello, this is Michael Ignatieff, I know you are eating supper, but I just thought I'd call you to say my mass-dialing auto call is more important than your family time."
I'm annoyed by those calls too. I wish that they weren't necessary, or there was some real way of making sure people who really don't want them aren't called, or that faithful supporters are peppered with too many too frequently. Still, I think that the future of our country, how we spend our money, whether we send our armed forces to this or that country, how we take care of the environment, how we care for the elderly, homeless children...those things are more important for just a moment, for just a few weeks, than my supper right now. And just think about it, how often do you get a chance to hang up on Stephen Harper?
Here's a good article about our riding of New Westminster Coquitlam Port Moody.
I know, it's tedious. It's annoying. It's expensive. It's an election. It's a privilege. Get over it. I'm telling myself that every day, and I do believe it.
question: what's up with you for this election?
mompoet - counting on your support, whichever candidate you like best