Each election pundits in Canada’s apathetic ’burbs dump dour remarks on the growing heap of rhetoric surrounding democracy.
“If you don’t go to the polls, you don’t have a right to complain,” is the most common refrain when the topic of voter-apathy arises.
Of course, that’s just ludicrous. If the right to complain could be taken away, Stephen Harper would have done it months ago.
That brings us to favoured refrain No. 2: “Around the world people are dying to do what you aren’t.”
That’s true. But then again, those people aren’t mulling over who best represents their needs in mind-bogglingly dull matters, like sewage systems and development permits in privilege- drenched cul-de-sacs.
Even writing those two government functions makes me want to join Kelowna’s 80 per cent, go unseasonably bronze and stop voting entirely.
But, then again, I’d be stripping away the icing on the cake of my favourite pastime—judging.
How often do we get to judge the people who make the decisions that impact our lives? I mean, sure, we can say to our friends,“Are they doing this for the right reasons?” with a knowing side-glance.
But colouring in the bubble next to a name that had the least offensive—sometimes most inspiring—campaign is a uniquely gratifying experience.
Sometimes, admittedly, there’s not much to go on. In the last civic race “economy” had yet to become a four-letter-word and candidates were just pleasant. This time, hope springs eternal with what’s been a colourful bid for office.
Among the cast of characters repeatedly making my day are Cal Condy, the joke-cracking mayoralty candidate, who sang his way through the early days of the campaign.
Ken Chung was recently deemed the dark horse in the running, but when dubious decisions came to light shortly thereafter he saw that title snuffed out.
There’s the mayor who had the gall to take a campaign contribution from firefighters … it’s actually hard to muster judgment, but Walter Gray certainly did during a forum this week. Speaking of which, he really is the bright light of it all.
Say what you like about the man—he’s a saviour for business or his values haven’t kept pace with the electorate’s—but he offers delightful conversation fodder. Best to date was his Hooterville comment, during this week’s mayoralty forum. Hooterville, the audience learned, is what Gray calls Rutland. It’s a TV reference from a time before flat screens, and basically can be subbed in for “backwoods.”
It’s not the worst insult lobbed Rutland’s way, but don’t say that to those populating a Castanet forum with vitriolic remarks. They’re about to get him with their pitchforks for the politically awkward gaffe.
It’s fabulously entertaining, which brings me to my pithy one liner to encourage voting goes as so: “Get out and judge which wacky candidate made most sense to you. Democracy depends on it.”