Once upon a time, I was 20 and I really wanted into a class taught by a Professor at University, who was also a Senator in the Canadian Senate. The class was full, I moaned to my mother, and I couldn’t get in.
“Cheryl-Nancy”, she said. “You walk into his office and you tell him who you are!”
I was no one special – save for this. When I was 4, I had helped deliver campaign flyers for his re-election. That was my first election. I cut my teeth on politics.
I volunteered on campaigns before I could vote. I volunteered after. I have delivered flyers, phoned, door knocked, organized get out the vote. I have cleaned bathrooms and stuffed envelopes. Participated in rallies. Organized lawn signs. Donated to parties.
Last night the political landscape in my province changed for the first time in 44 years. Massively changed. We went from fairly hard right to centrist-left. I have joked that the snow we are having today is my mother’s way of expressing displeasure.
But there’s this – my mother believed in politics. The elbows in the corner were a rush to her. 28 days of an election writ period energized her. It was simple for her.
She, like me, believed in the power of the government to transform lives, make things better.
She likely would not have voted for this party. She likely would have been appalled – save this:
Last night we elected 27 women to take their seats. A woman will swear the oath of office, she will become our Premier. Women will surround her. Childcare, employment equity, education – what are always women’s issues will become everyone’s issues this time.
My mother who took me to vote and deliver campaign flyers, who impressed on me that politics and voting are not a right, they are a privilege, the cost of admission into a civilized society, the way you articulate your hopes and dreams for your community – last night in heaven there must have been election returns she could see.
And even still – from so far away I could hear her say
“Yes. We did it. We showed people that there is more to politicking than old white men in suits. We stood up to be counted”.
It took more time than you had Mumsy. I thought of you when I saw children in a polling station, watching their parents vote. I thought of you when I saw lawn signs. I thought of you as I watched a victory speech, tears in the corner of my eyes.
I wish you could have been here for this. You would have loved every moment of it.