Monday, 13 May 2013

E -Day! The Election is upon us!

It's sometimes funny to look at the way you thought things would play out, and contrast those musings against what in reality actually happened.  I authored a post on this blog about a month ago, loudly declaring my support for the provincial New Democratic Party in the coming election.  At the time, I thought that because the election would be on my mind regularly during the lead up to the big day, that I would in turn be inspired to fill this virtual space with material that pertained to the subject.  As it turns out, I have been quite busy over the past month, and when I did have the time to type, my mind was on other things.  I have spent considerable time this past month exercising, and making plans to exercise more as the summer draws nearer.  Today and tommorow my mind will be firmly planted on one thing, the election and that it entails.  Come with me as I ramble on about tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I will rise bright and early, readying myself for a long day of work.  I applied and trained weeks ago, to work for Elections B.C. tomorrow.  I will be tasked from 8 am to 8 pm with the job of "Information Officer" at one of the polling stations here in Prince George.  While it will be a long day of work, I am looking forward to a relaxing day, one that gets me out of normal, moundane work routine.  When I decided a few months ago to pursue work on election day, I was struggling with my side income and saw this as an opportunity to make a few bucks relatively stress free.  I will go to the polling station for a short time tonight to help set up, then will be back on-site by about 7 am tomorrow to continue preparing.  Perhaps being directly involved in the electoral process will inspire me to get further involved next time around.

In my riding, I have already cast my ballot.  While I try to maintain some level of professional integrity (remember, I am working as a non-partisan elections official tomorrow), I will not directly disclose who I cast my ballot for.  Let's put it this way:  it's not looking good for the NDP in Prince George.  When the elections was still a blip in the future, say two months ago, there were some predicting the complete demise of the Liberal Party.  As often happens during elections, the anger towards the governing party disappates somewhat, leading to the party gaining steam as the big day approaches.  In Prince George-Valemount, it seems that many of gone back to the Liberals, opting for the proverbial "devil they know".  In Shirley Bond's case, the term "neighbourhood witch" is more apt.  At this point, I am holding out hope that the NDP can take 1 of the 3 Prince George area ridings, but even that may be optimistic.  A win provincially is still more than likely, but no one will be able to relax until the polls close tomorrow night and the results start rolling in.

As a family, we have been much more politically involved then we have before.  Sheila, until recently was maintaining that she hadn't decided who she was going to vote for, and was still set to do some research.  While I didn't witness her doing any research, that is not to say she didn't do any.  A few weeks ago, she did declare her support for the NDP based on things she had read and seen.  As a family, we attended the local "Rally for Change" a few weeks ago, featuring an impassioned speech from Adrian Dix.  He highlighted the failures of the current government, coupling each highlight with the NDP's proposed approach to each issue.  Jasmine sat in the front row with her best friend, who's family was also attending.  It was cool to see her waving her sign and not getting bored despite the length and subject material involved.  Asher wasn't too happy when we went, as he wanted to run around the crowded room, not stay in Mom and Dad's arms.  Both candidates gave a short speech that night, and I came away impressed with both, for different reasons.  Sherry Ogasawara struck me as a polished public speaker, one who has obvious experience in the task.  Bobby Deepak on the other hand seemed nervous, and he probably was, the rally had probably the biggest turnout of the campaign, and while he is a lawyer and is likely comfortable speaking, he usually does some in small courtrooms.  The thing Bobby does have, is charism.  He oozes it.  I could see myself being friends with the guy.  We actually have a mutual friend, and by his account, I'm bang on with my assessment.  Bobby is cool.  Now, I am aware that you need substance to go with that cool, and his debate performance last week provided proof that he most certainly could make it as a politician.  He stood up to the Liberal candidate, as they engaged in numerous heated exchanges.  I believe he has the best chance of the 3 local NDP candidates to win a seat as an MLA.  We will see.

Knowing that Jasmine had participated on Friday in the student election, I asked her last night as we drove home, who she had voted for.  She told me it was private and she wouldn't tell me.  While her plans to preserve the integrity of her vote were cute, I pressed on.  First I asked her what all of the parties names were.  She could name the NDP, the Liberal Party and the Green Party.  After some arm twisting, she told me that she had voted for the NDP.  Her reason?  "Dad, they are the ones who care about all of the students.  Not just college or high school, but all of us."  Hmmmm.  I asked her where she had heard that.  She didn't know.  It made me proud to know that she had a reason, a good one, as to why she had cast her vote.  Asher was sitting beside Jasmine as we had this conversation, and as we talked, he shouted "NDP!"  Then he shouted it again, And again.  Sheila jokingly said that he could lead the chants for the party.  We all laughed as he gave us about a dozen more shouts. 

While the previous paragraphs have been filled with partisan gobbledy gook, I want to highlight how important I feel voting is.  I know lots of people, who for various reasons, stating various excuses will not cast a vote tomorrow.  It's too bad really, but at the same time, it makes the value of the votes cast even higher.  If only half of eligible voters actually cast a ballot, it essentially makes those cast worth twice as much.  It could be said that every voter assumes the voice of one person who didn't bother.  I am a partisan hack, I can admit that.  But, a vote cast, regardless of what direction, is better than a lazy ass sat on.  I cast my ballot on Friday, with Asher.  He and I parked down the block, strolled into a busy polling station, provided my voter's card and ID, put an x in the circle and placed the ballot in the box.  Asher helped me, pointing to the circle he wanted me to mark (he chose correctly funny enough), and then doing the honors of placing the ballot in the box.  We were back in the truck exactly 5 minutes after we left it, and that included walking half a block each way.  It took me FIVE minutes to vote!  My son who is 2, did all of the hard work for me.  The government is kind enough to have polling stations in your neighbourhood, so no one has to drive more than a minute or two out of the way to cast a ballot.  Have I shot enough holes in the standard excuses yet?  Sadly, most of those people I know who won't vote, would likely be NDP supporters.  Low income or pro-cannabis or young parents or better yet, all three at once.  These are all typical NDP supporters, and many in these categories simply won't bother.  Let's hope the NDP doesn't go down to defeat because of the unwillingness of people to get involved.  My children are both more aware of the process than many adults are.  Sad, truly sad. 

Until next time, get outside and enjoy the sun and warm weather.  That's where you will find me.

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