Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Fun with Provincial Politics

It's provincial election time and the door knockers are out in full force. While I've been excited to vote in every election since I've become eligible to vote, I've never been much involved with the campaigning itself. During the last mayoral race, my sister and I spent the night before the vote browsing websites, reading newspapers, and emailing friends who were involved in a desperate attempt to make a good last-minute decision. It's important to be informed when you're deciding how to vote. It's even more important when you're also telling your parents how to vote.

My sister is a poli-sci undergrad and has many highly opinionated political friends. One of them is working with our Wildrose candidate on his campaign. We'll call him Kay. He's hardcore - sleeping in the office, showering in the candidate's home, doing all the jobs he fears to leave to volunteers. My sister invited him over for a snack (I guess she was worried that in his hardcoredness he might forget to eat). He seemed so eager for someone to come out door knocking with him (everyone else is old, he lamented) that I agreed to go the following day. I mean, my sister had already let him put a Wildrose lawn sign outside our house, so I figured I was more or less committed.

But shortly after he finished his snack, put his chocolate milk in our fridge and left, the PC incumbent knocked on the door. "Hi," he said. Seeing as I had just been researching him on the internet (I should probably know a bit about the guy I'm trying to oust from office), I recognized his face and called my more politically savvy sister over.

The PC incumbent, who we'll call Dee, asked why we were supporting the Wildrose.

"Well," said my sister, "The Wildrose candidate, Jay, is kind of a personal friend."

"Are there any policies that have affected your decision?"

"The education thing," my sister said.

"You know that's been scrapped, right?" said Dee.

"It'll come back," said my sister.

"I don't think so," said Dee. Then he turned to me. "How are you going to vote? Can I put one of my signs up next to the Wildrose one?"

"Um, we'll think about it, thanks," we said.

At this point, Rachel wandered by, so Dee asked her how she was going to vote. "I can't vote," she said. "I'm from Quebec."

"But you could vote here."

"I'd rather vote in Quebec. A conservative vote counts more there."

"If you had a Swiss grandparent you could vote in Switzerland," said Dee.

"Well, be that as it may, I can't vote in both Quebec and Alberta," said Rachel.

"I think you can," said Dee, turning around to his two young volunteers who were standing meekly at the bottom of our steps. "Can't she?" They shrugged. "You know," said Dee, "Sometimes there are varying opinions in one household. I'm not trying to change your mind, but would any of you like a PC sign?"

"No thanks," we said, so he put one on the boulevard in front of our house, instead.

Then my sister texted Kay to tell him that the PC incumbent had just been by to talk with us about Switzerland and about putting up a second sign. "You should have kept him talking as long as possible so he couldn't visit other houses!" Kay exclaimed. "Why didn't you offer him the rest of my chocolate milk?"

The next day, Kay swung by and put a second Wildrose sign on our lawn while my sister was napping.

Door knocking was kind of fun. "I hear that Dee stopped by your place yesterday," said Kay.

"Yes," I replied. "But he only wanted to rebut whatever we said. Like, he said the education thing was scrapped."

"You know that was re-introduced the other day, right?" he replied. And so began our evening of door knocking. It was kind of fun. "I have the best job in the world!" crowed Kay.

I enjoyed the way that Jay deferred to Kay despite the generational age gap and social status gap between them. A few times it almost felt like we were babysitting. Jay clearly respects and trusts that Kay knows what he is talking about.

"It's busy for you now, isn't it?" a constituent would say to Jay.
"Kay lets me have Mondays off from door knocking," Jay replied half-jokingly.
"For now," Kay clarified with a smirk.

"Here's some money for you," a constituent would say to Jay.
"Give all the money to me, Jay," Kay would say.
"Well, ok," he agreed.

Come an argument among the volunteers, one volunteer would complain that there was too much walking. The second volunteer would complain that there was too much walking. Jay would hem and haw and like a good diplomat let someone else make the unpopular decision he wanted to make himself. "What would your advice be, Kay?" he asked.

"Let's forget the cars entirely and just walk," Kay replied.

"Let's do it," Jay agreed. But I think they've had to reevaluate since, for fear of the other volunteers turning against them. We were generally worried that Jay may get sucked into one of the houses and be unable to extricate himself without a rescue as it was (we actually lost him and had to double-back a couple times to find him). It would be even worse if you had no volunteers to come rescue you.

So I've been door knocking, my sister has been door knocking, our unable-to-vote basement dweller wants to go door knocking and we have two Wildrose signs on our property. Now all we need is a giant banner with the smiling face of our candidate hung over the garage to greet Mom and Dad when they get back from Hawaii. At least they won't be confused about who we're supposed to support this election.

Apparently this is the tactic for getting a lawn sign on the property of new immigrants:

Door knocker: So, either you can donate to the party, or I can give you a free sign!
New immigrant: Well, uh, free sign, then, please.

"If you can't convince them, confuse them!" Harry S. Truman

P.S. Just so I don't get sued for libel, I should state that I may have trimmed the conversations down for size, and I'm sure I don't remember the exact wording. But the gist is pretty much accurate.


Owen Lewis said...

Hey Carla it's Owen. I have to say I enjoyed reading that, it was pretty awesome! Good job on trying to get the ruling part out by the way, we've got our work cut out for us though! (I'm also supporting the wild rose lol)

Bri said...

Haha nice! :D

Kay isn't actually in charge of Jay's campaign, but he is working on it full time anyway.

We lost Jay in a house again last Sunday and rang on the wrong doorbell looking for him. I was like "We lost our candidate! Is he here?" We got a really strange look...

And, just an FYI for people, Dee seems to manipulate immigrants more than us to put up lawn signs... :P Haha. And they are my favorite people to talk to because they are so nice!
Love the Truman quote here. Very fitting. I laughed aloud.

art said...

I do not believe the Education Act Bill could have been reintroduced as we are currently in an election and all bills die on the table when an election is called and nothing can be introduced until after the election. I think it is quite speculative to say the PC's WILL reintroduce the bill after the election when they essentially killed it themselves.

It will be an interesting election.