Entries from December 2005 ↓

Letters I like

The Corp
Letter to CBC.ca election site:

The federal Liberals do not deserve to continue to govern this country. Mr. Carr, the incumbent, has done nothing of note for this riding during his time in the federal Liberal party. He was at least visible and useful during his stint in the provincial government – but he was a Conservative then.

The sponsorship debacle; the gross incompetence exhibited by those responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars; the disturbing lack of ethics among Liberal politicians; twelve years of sheer arrogance from various and sundry Liberals; lies about the GST; the patronizing attitude of Liberals toward Canadian parents (beer & popcorn, anyone?); the nasty and bordering-on-racist comments from Liberal candidates against their competitors (that ugly “Switched at birth” Olivia Chow/Chow Chow dog photo and writeup on a Liberal website); the gun registry boondoggle; Paul Martin flying foreign flags on his shipping company’s ships in order to avoid Canadian taxes; the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Liberals carrying on ad nauseum about two tier health care while conveniently ignoring the fact that B.C. and Quebec already have booming private health care industries; the gutting of the Canadian armed forces; the gleeful stirring of anti-American sentiments while being weak-willed and spineless when it comes to resolving legitimate disagreements with our largest trading partner.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I am of the view that it is time to oust this corrupt and ineffective government.

Good luck, Garth.

Posted by: Colleen Roberts

Burlington Post
Letter to the editor of the Burlington Post:

Let me get this straight.

Liberal incumbent MP Gary Carr is a representative of, I believe, one of the most corrupt Liberal government to ever rule in Canada.

Despite his party’s well-documented history of corruption and scandal, this arrogant Liberal has the audacity to be offended that people are stealing his election lawn signs? Give me a break! I think he doth protest too much.

Mr. Carr and all other Liberals should be thankful that we live in a modern democracy. He’s lucky that people have chosen to exercise their political voice by stealing his election lawn signs and not by hanging Liberals and other horse thieves from the nearest lamp post.

Mike Federchuk – Burlington (By e-mail)

New Year’s eve

After 30 days...

Day 31

Today was the last full day of the year for the campaign team – just canvassing going on tomorrow, with the office closed – and it certainly ended on a high note. The calls and emails and walk-ins started first thing this morning. While my cell phone was buzzing with new lawn sign and arterial sign requests, Beth and Esther and Stella were coping with a deluge of email, dealing with a woman who insisted she went to grade school with me (she had photos!), orchestrating the ordering of new canvass materials and signs, and answering phones that didn’t quit until less than an hour ago.

Suddenly in the last two days a workmanlike, organized, reasonably meticulous and on-track campaign has exploded into a chaotic bandwagon hurtling down the 401. We are almost out of lawn signs, despite the fact we have planted 60% more than in the last federal campaign. So many canvass volunteers have shown up that we have tripled the order for Voter’s Guides, with an emergency whack of them being delivered tomorrow afternoon, thanks to Halton Commercial Printers going into overtime overdrive. We are running more than a week ahead in the schedule of polls which will be walked during the campaign, and have soared past the 20,000-home mark.

Doug is doing an astonishing job organizing the afternoon and evening canvass teams. Patric and his sign crew leaders last night put the last touches on their strategy, and are out this weekend on a major repair and install mission. Our platform mail piece came off the press today and has begun being processed for the post office. And today we had more people come forward who agreed to host coffee parties in their neighbourhoods – the right kind of people. Non-believers who want a reason to believe.

Here’s what I mean:

I am a married 39 year old man with a 2 kids and am self employed as an eLearning consultant. I have not made up my mind yet regarding the election. I know that Halton has some very strong candidates for all of the four main parties.

I live, work and interact primarily with my neighbours in Oakville. We have a nice multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-income demographic and multi-generational, but close knit, community here. I must admit that, and heaven-forbid that it should have come to this over these last few weeks, we have been talking politics when we gather to raise a glass or share a moment at this seasonal time of the year. During our sometimes heated, sometimes uplifting, sometimes depressing discussions about what has been happening on the federal political scene, it has been suggested that we simply do not know enough about you as a local representative.

Here are some of the discussion points that we have been exploring:
Are you accessible? Are you locally-grounded? Are you a potential issue risk taker or a quiet party platform supporting observer? Who are you? Has the power of the political machine that surrounds and supports your candidacy corrupted you? What can you do? What can you not do? Are the issues of those with money more likely to be heard than those of us who are struggling financially? With all that has happened within the federal political space, why even vote?

Can you please let me know if, when and/or how you will be accessible to us as a candidate to talk to, to meet, to raise a glass or to simply ask some perspective probing questions? I am sure that I could arrange to have at least 6 to 10 of my more open-minded and interested neighbours join together (more if you require a minimum number) so that your time could be better spent here, if a visit to our street is even something that is within the realm of possibility.

Of course, I replied right away, and we are meeting as a group. I am sure it will be a most worthwhile encounter – it has to be, given the fundamental nature of the questions asked of me. Here, it seems, is an engaged guy whose mind has been seized by the political campaign swirling around us, and is trying to dig past the headlines and truly understand what a candidate to be his local MP can do, be, and become.

This is great. It goes to the very nature of the political dilemma in this country. Do you vote for the local man or woman, ensuring you make the best possible choice? Or do you ignore the person on your doorstep and just vote as the media wants you to – obsessed with the style, look, delivery and (if you’re lucky) the policy of one of the leaders?

How much, I am being asked, does the MP even matter in a system like this? By extension, how much does the voter matter? In our realm of politics today, does anything matter enough to actually create change?

Fair questions, and I shall enjoy answering them. Readers here will have noticed I long ago concluded that the local MP, not the leader, is the building block of the system. Out of 300-odd members of Parliament come all the leaders, the ministers, the critics, the committee chairs, and the procedural experts. If we do not ensure the pipeline into Parliament is full of capable people, then what comes out at the other end is sure to disappoint.

So, I am proud to be a candidate, and will be proud again to be an MP. And that would wisely be a man or woman’s highest ambition. To represent the interests of 150,000 people while participating in the forming of laws to guide and govern us all, is surely enough. But it rarely is. Ambition is the oil that can start a slippery slide, and gives us MPs who would rather stay in Ottawa where security guards salute them as they enter Parliament than go home on the weekend and be harassed in Loblaws. It gives us local reps who think sending out householders with their party logo on it is a substitute for actually standing in front of a room of people and asking them what they think. And it gives us election candidates who don’t bather knocking on doors, especially when it’s cold enough to forget you have fingers.

And that will not be me.