If you’ve never spent time around a campaign office (and if you haven’t, you should. Everyone should volunteer on a campaign at least once!) E-1 might not make sense. It means the eve of the election. It’s 9pm here in Alberta, which means the last of the sweepers have made sure that the door knockers are done. Someone in the campaign office has made lunches for the scrutineers. The scrutineers have their packages. The campaign manager is doing something called closing the lists. They have turned off the phones, they are counting their likely voters.
Campaign offices are hives of activity, and over tomorrow that activity will wane. There is no campaigning on election day. You can call voters to remind them to vote. You can offer rides. But you don’t campaign. You don’t tell anyone why to vote for your candidate. By Eday, it’s all over.
And that’s not what I’m thinking about. You might think I would be, with a lifetime of campaigning behind me, but no.
I think I was around 12. Maybe more, maybe less. At any rate, I was at the age where you ask your parents hard questions. And I asked my mother if she would vote for a candidate she didn’t like because of the party she ran for. She said she would. As a rather black and white kid, I was appalled.
On my front lawn is a sign for an NDP candidate. I know the guy, a little bit. I’ve followed him on twitter for years. I know a great many people who know him well. They speak well of him. He’s kind and lovely. I love the candidate. He’s good and honest and kind and he will serve his consistency and Canada well.
Here’s the thing. I’m not an NDP supporter federally. I’m a liberal. I’m pretty much completely opposed to a very large chunk of the NDP platform. Normally, in most elections, this wouldn’t matter. In this particular election, where there is likely to be a minority government, it does matter. The NDP will hold the balance of power. So, here I am handing them a vote which might elect a guy, which might give them another seat, which might lead to the enactment of things that will financially harm me in small ways, and which I will not like.
So Mumsy. You wouldn’t have voted for this guy. You and I both know that. I normally wouldn’t vote for him, save this.
I’m not voting for him. Not really. I’m voting for the single mum struggling to make ends meet. I’m voting for the Indigenous communities in Canada that still do not have access to clean drinking water. I’m voting for gay and trans kids and adults. I’m voting for reconciliation. I’m voting for immigrants and someone who will stand up for Syria. I’m voting for those who have no place to sleep, no food to eat. I’m voting for the children I will never have.
I’m voting for this thing called Canada. Which is a place and a set of documents, but also an idea. A dream.
And Mumsy, that feels about as Canadian as I can get.