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Monday, October 13, 2008

At the end of the day, it's all about you

I got an interesting letter this weekend and I can't quite get it out of my head. As it's rather timely, I wanted to post it here. I've written to the writer of said letter for permission to post it and so, until I've gotten full permission, I'm taking all personal details out of it (and they'll probably remain out unless given the go-ahead to post in its entirety).
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Hey Brandon,

I'd like to comment on something you wrote on your blog last week about the Canadian leader's debate.

I watched most of the debate online last weekend, and I have to say that if the Conservatives are elected again, with a majority or a minority, it'll be a sad day for Canada.

I live in an area and a province that is without question a have not area. Many believe that the area will do better if we elect someone who's party gets into government. Here's where I face a dilemma. The Conservative candidate in my riding is someone who is very smart and, if elected, has the potential to do great things for [us]. I took a Leaders and Leadership distance course from her last year, and I got a good mark in the course. I think she can be a great leader and represent [us] very well on a federal level.

However, I have to look at the big picture. A vote for [her] is a vote for Stephen Harper. Like many smart Canadians, I do not like Stephen Harper or the downward direction that Canada has been going in under the Conservatives since 2006. I watched clips of the debate last week, and I think it's quite clear to me that Stephen Harper is apathetic and does not give a fuck towards Canadians. I've said in the past that Stephen Harper is a very calm and collected politician, but there is a difference between being calm and collected and being outright apathetic towards the general public and not acting in the public's best interests. Harper is guilty of the latter.

Stephane Dion, Jack Layton, Elizabeth May (I can dream, can't I?), it doesn't matter. As long as one of those those leaders gets elected to be PM on Tuesday, I'll be a happy guy. Anybody other then Harper has the potential to reestablish Canada as a great and proud country, both here at home and abroad.

Unfortunately, my Conservative Candidate has a very real chance of getting elected as a MP come Tuesday. After 8 years of being represented by a Liberal, many will see the need to elect someone new. Hopefully there will be some who will see the big picture and vote for someone other then a Conservative.

Which federal party has the best chance of defeating the Conservatives next week? My gut says the Liberals but I think the NDP will do well too. I haven't looked at the recent polling numbers, but I know that Harper is losing support over recent gaffes he's made.

Anyway Brandon, thanks for letting me rant.
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Hey [ ]!

Yeah, that right there is one of the shitty things about our democracy - we can have a say in the party, but not the leader - that's where things get problematic.

In this situation it's easy to talk about things like strategic voting and pushing for any party over the Conservatives. And while I personally feel it's right at this juncture, there's another side to that story - a local side that will be felt far more acutely than one or the other Steve getting into power.

Maybe the Conservative at the local level is a good person, maybe the Liberal/NDP/Green running is an obnoxious prick who doesn't deserve or hasn't earned your vote.

What then?

I've come to realize that at the end of the day you have to do what's right for you, what you believe to be true. Maybe [your Conservative Candidate] will do great things for your town, maybe - just maybe - she's the kind of politician that also follows her heart and would be willing to stand up to her leader.

What you have to try and do - and I know this is hard - is to gauge the amount of leader within your leader. If push comes to shove - say Harper explicitly says "screw [your town]" is she the kind of person to say "no, screw you" or fall in step with the party line?

It's not an easy thing to figure out, someone's moral fiber - the strength of their character, but it's the first thing you should look at. If you know - and feel certain in your heart and mind - that this person will have your back... well then it doesn't matter what colour she flies. If she's a strong leader she will stand up for [your town] and stand up to Stephen Harper when she knows he's doing something wrong (in fact, that's something you should ask her about!).

As a citizen, it's your duty - if you help elect her, or anyone, really - to make sure they are sticking up for you. To offer them feedback, both positive and negative, on how they're doing their job so that they can be the best kind of leader they're capable of. (I know, positive feedback for a politician!?)

It's not always easy, not always something we have the time for - but that's why its a task meant for a society, not just one person.

Anyways - my best advice is to seriously look at her, call her up and ask her a few questions. If you're considering voting for her, you have every right to her time and she will gladly make it for you (especially this late in the game when every vote matters!). If not, if you're not important enough to talk to on a phone or in person, then you have a pretty good idea of what you can expect in the future.

I wish you the best of luck. Politics is never easy (I've been learning that like crazy this last year, especially the last few months), but as long as your candidate has made you feel good about your choice, that's all that matters.

Cheers!
Brandon

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