That got your attention didn't it? It's relevant I swear, just bear with me.
I went to an all-candidates meeting last night, and came to a conclusion: I dearly wish that my retiring Liberal MP, the Honourable Peter Adams
, was running again. Adams was one of my favourite MPs, and frankly, I don't know how a town like Peterborough got so lucky. He was as honourable as the title suggests; everybody, even his opponents, liked him. I've lived here since 1995 - he's been the MP since 1993, and was an MPP from 1987-1990 - and I don't think I've ever heard a single bad thing said about him. While it's unfortunate that he was swept away in the NDP tide of 1990, it facilitated his jump to federal politics, and Peterborough was all the better for it, because we had one of the best MPs in the Commons. He was respectful of everyone he met, and won four federal elections very comfortably, even against a united Conservative party in a swing riding. They couldn't even touch him last time he was so far out in front. He was one of the most socially progressive MPs in the Liberal caucus, an active supporter of gay marriage, a woman's right to choose, and the legalization of marijuana. And not to mention, he was principled enough to support John Manley's abortive leadership bid, even though it was painfully obvious that Manley couldn't win. That support probably cost him a cabinet spot, and he remained a backbencher his entire career - except for recently, where he got to serve as Belinda's parliamentary secretary. It's a shame that John Manley may soon become Liberal leader, and one of his ardent caucus supporters won't be there to take a (well-deserved) cabinet spot. I'm glad that I was old enough to vote for him at least once before he retired, though regretably I didn't actually campaign for him last time around, because I was still having my "I used to be a PC, who do I support?" crisis. In the end, though, I voted for Adams, and was proud to do it.
My tribute being said, however...
In all there are six people running for election in my riding of Peterborough, ON - the usual suspects, an Independent, and a Marijuana Party joker. They decided to invite the Pot Party guy, Aiden Wiechula
, even though his contribution to the discussions basically consisted of, "Uhh... I don't know enough about this issue to say anything but *proceeds to waste everyone's time*." I don't know, but for some reason, at this age, I just can't bring myself to vote for a candidate who's younger than me. He's sort of cute though - not that I'd ever outright say
that I'm willing to sell my vote for sexual favours. Actually, now I'm curious as to whether or not that would be illegal. It's really a shame, though, because I absolutely support the legalization of marijuana. It's depressing to me to see candidates who seem to be going out of their way to prove the negative stereotypes about pot-smokers.
As for the Independent, Bob Bowers, well, he's a perrenial candidate who never wins, and he's sort of... cooky. It's hard to be annoyed at a guy with no teeth and Parkinson's disease - all I could really do was feel sorry for the poor guy last night, I didn't know what else to think - but he also sort of dragged the level of discussion down, saying the same thing over and over again (he's a far-left populist, and referendums are the solution to everything, apparently) as well, and to top it all off he had to leave at 9:15, and even though everyone in attendence wanted to continue the discussion until 10:00, he insisted on leaving, and so the rules demanded that the debate end. So a lot of really good questions (including mine - I'll get to that) didn't get to be asked.
A lot of things were said, but the serious candidates can basically be summed up thusly:Brent Wood
(Green Party, and no, you're not the only one to notice how fitting the name is): He was definitely the most well-informed of the group, and probably the best speaker, too. His solutions to problems were typical Green fare - completely rethink the problem, rejecting the previously-accepted premises, and come up with a new, more efficient and effective solution. All in all, I enjoyed listening to him speak. He's a professor at my University. I'm currently leaning towards voting for him, actually. He impressed me last night, and I think candidates like him deserve votes.Linda Slavin
(NDP): I have it on good authority from a friend who knows her that she's a flake. But she seemed alright to me, at least when discussing policy. Her answers to questions usually consisted of what you'd expect from the NDP - someone would ask a question demanding more money for this or that, and she'd either say "Yes", or say "I haven't read the platform yet, since it was just released today, but I'm sure there's some money for you in there somewhere."Dean Del Mastro
(Conservative): The apparent front-runner, and that's very unfortunate. This guy is a piece of work. I mean, I'm used to candidates spouting absolute BS promises that they never intend to keep. But this guy just takes the cake. There were a lot of questions asked last night, each asking for more money than the last - and he said yes to them all. He was just as bad as Slavin in the doling out of un-keepable promises - actually, he was worse, since Slavin wasn't promising to cut taxes on top of
all her spending promises - and a few times, he actually promised more, sometimes twice, what the NDP candidate promised. It was crazy, I literally could not believe what I was hearing. Oh yes, the Tories have struck gold with this one - as a used car salesman, (turned off yet?) he has been trained by his profession to make as many false promises as possible. And he's good at it. Without missing a beat, he was promising a billion dollars, two billion, five billion dollars for this, that, and the other, the whole time attacking the Liberals for cutting it in the first place - even if it was, say, Mike Harris' Conservatives who cut that particular service, not the Liberals. Oh, the gall
of this guy, you just wouldn't believe him. While admittedly he's no Rondo Thomas
(direct quote: "The facts don't matter"), he's quite the liar. He just does it so well - heck, he'd have me convinced if I hadn't been sitting there the whole time tallying up what his promises were going to cost (trust me - it put the NDP's hyperbolic promises to shame), and to top it all off, he stole another NDP campaign slogan when he accused the Liberals of being "the most far-right government" ever in Canada (to much derision and, "Oh come on!"s). Oh and incidentally he opposes gay rights - who's far right, Dean? Unfortunately, due to the meeting being cut short, I was not able to ask my question: "Mr. Del Mastro, I've been sitting here tallying up your promises, and from what you've said here tonight, you plan to spend more than the NDP, and on top of that, you plan on cutting taxes across the board, including a GST cut. How, exactly, are you planning on paying for all this?" It was a good question, too bad I didn't get to ask it.Diane Lloyd
(Liberal): To counter Dean's out of control spending promises was the fiscally prudent Diane Lloyd. Lloyd was the head of the local school board during the Harris-Eves years, so she knows full well what it's like to operate on a tight budget. While all the other candidates (except the Green) were just promising to throw money every which way, she was the one saying, "No". She was the one who said, "I know it's not what you want to hear, but unlike Dean, I'm not going to make a bunch of promises I know I can't keep. The fact is while I would love to allocate money in that way, I can't promise you something that we probably can't afford. Well, I could promise
it to you, but then I'd be lying." Unfortunately, while fiscal frugality is necessary, it's certainly not popular with the locals, who didn't take kindly to being told that government can't do everything for them. Normally I'd vote for her - she even passes my same-sex marriage litmus - but I don't think she's going to win, and even if she does, I'll be less than thrilled. She's one of those "marijuana is a gateway drug" types, and for some reason, I just can't bring myself to mark an "X" for a person who considers me a criminal for smoking a joint. Maybe I'm taking that too personally, but moral issues are personal things, and I don't take kindly to being told by the government that my moral choices are wrong. Lloyd, while she's not a bad candidate, and she was the president of the Peterborough Liberal Association, is not Peter Adams. And that's a shame, because he'd have my vote, and my campaigning time in a heartbeat.
All in all, what I took away from the debate is this, as I said, I wish Peter Adams was running, because out of all the candidates, the one who impressed me the most was the Green Party candidate - and unlike 90% of Canadians, I vote based on my local candidate. I'm not a partisan, and while I don't want the Liberals to lose, to be perfectly honest, at this point, I think they deserve to. I look forward to being a part of rebuilding the party if it collapses, but for the moment, with this current leader, this current candidate, and these current policies, I just can't bring myself to vote Liberal for the third time in a row (2003 Ontario, 2004 Canada).