Michaels: Hope for civility in the upcoming election

You can’t help but get a little bit swept up in the excitement of election season.

When the leader of the BC NDP pulls up in a “sweet bus” and starts talking about how tough he is, you can’t help but get a little bit swept up in the excitement of election season.

NDP Leader John Horgan arrived in Kelowna Thursday with a small army of provincial media in tow and decided to throw down the gauntlet in the land of centre-right, free-enterprise loving politics.

“I was on the radio here today in Kelowna, and the host said ‘they’re doing negative ads’ and I said ‘I’m shocked. Christy Clark is being negative? I can’t believe it,’” Horgan said.

He then went on to list all the many things Clark has said about him.

“She called me a hacker, until it was clear I was not a hacker. She said something about me being not tough enough, clearly she didn’t see my nose after I was poked in the face playing lacrosse.”

He’s plenty tough, he said. But are the dear, sweet people of this valley? Are NDP supporters strong enough to turn the tides of local history?

One of the women who went to the Deli City cafe Thursday appeared to be. She talked about how she just recently got into a heated political debate with her fellow residents at a local retirement home and when they went too right wing, she was tempted to offer up her right hook. All of this was in jest — I think.

What was more serious however is that the gauntlet has been thrown down, the gloves are off and we’re going headlong into campaign season.

It’s early days, but there’s a big chance that this political fight will be less polite than others. It’s the way things are going.

When asked when he’d be releasing his platform, Horgan joked with reporters that it would be, really big. Great. Everyone will like it — or something to that effect.

The Donald Trumpism got everyone in the room laughing, but it also was a reminder of how ugly recent election campaigns have become. The last Canadian federal election had a whiff of nastiness, but our American neighbours really brought it to a new level. One that I hope doesn’t make its way here.

So, let’s all cross our fingers and wish that these political leaders, however tough they may be, aren’t hardened to the idea of civility as they scramble for votes.

Otherwise, let the games begin—it’s election time.

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