Extinguishing democracy is a little out of fashion these days. Ever since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau broke his promise to end Canada’s first past the post (the candidate with the most votes wins) election system the woke have resigned themselves to letting voters pick their representatives.
Which is a good thing. Turns out, for all its foibles and flaws, democracy isn’t so bad.
The best part of the Canadian election process is the archaic art of the neighbourhood canvas. A hopeful candidate and a handful of volunteers (mostly friends and family) trudge up to your door and ask for your vote.
In the day of social media and professional voter contact, it is a time consuming, tedious task that produces little useful voter intent information. The only tangible results are worn-out shoes, trashed socks, and blisters.
But canvasing is the single most important part of an election. Going to doors and meeting people in their neighbourhoods is the only effective way to learn the needs and aspirations of real Canadians. The best politicians I know trust the connection they have with voters over polling and focus groups.
So, across Canada, when an election is called, would-be politicians lace up sneakers and go out and meet people. May it always be so.
Canvasing seems thankless. A weeks long ramble through all kinds of weather on endless streets. And then there are days like last weekend.
Saturday I hit the streets in my neighbourhood with a good friend, Ted Arnott, and talked with folks about hockey, dogs, weather, the price of everything, and, on rare occasions, politics. It helps to canvas with a politician like Ted who knows the community and has served it well.
A beautiful spring morning found people friendly (they are almost always polite) and any number of puppies ready for a rub. A perfect day.
As always, I learned a few things. People have a way of reminding you of what is important.
So it was when a gentleman who was attempting to eradicate dandelions from his lawn offered a suggestion for the CPC leadership hopefuls. He said tell the party not to get too weird.
My new friend is a small c conservative. He doesn’t expect government to solve every problem. He just wants them to use his tax dollars wisely, keep the debt to a level his kids might someday payoff and leave the social warrior stuff to others.
He lives in a multiethnic community. He works a job that pays well enough, but every month is a little tight. He’s making it and he is doing everything in his power to take care of his family and community.
Tell them not to get too weird. I’ll try.
Most Canadians aren’t looking for a messiah or a shaman. They just want semi-competent government that isn’t distracted by every social justice issue or hair-brained economic theory that comes along.
Too weird would include firing the Chief Medical Officer or the Bank of Canada Governor or other stunts. Crypto currency is weird. Just do the hard stuff well.
Or at least that’s what a guy in my neighbourhood thinks.
A personal note here. I traveled for five decades with a great friend and horseman, Dick Pieper. I spoke with Dick a couple of weeks ago and he said when the doc’s fixed him up, he was planning to start a couple of young horses.
Dick passed this week. Keep your dreams up.