NOTE: This blog started out as a "here's who I'm voting for and why" and quickly turned into something else, then back into it's original intention. Who I'm voting for is the bottom half, but I hope you take the time to read the rest as well.
Today I start with an oft proclaimed cliche that never really resonated with me until I moved here.
It takes a great deal of courage to stand for public office.
This might be the first election where I've sincerely felt this. I've heard it said during SO31s but it always struck me as a bit of empty rhetoric. I think living in such a small place has really driven this point home as I now happen to have a friend running, another friend's brother is a candidate, a man I've met a couple times through an ex is leading a party, and the woman who will likely be my MLA popped up on my newsfeed one day with a dog she and her husband found. Politics are far more personal here. That's a good thing, for the most part.
It's not just the grind of shaking hands*, kissing babies, and putting up signs. There's also a significantly more shitty side with people trying to tear that work down.
In the last week, there have been reports of racism, vandalism , and outright theft. It's especially troubling that it's smaller parties with no real chance to win who are facing this kind of abuse. To even take the time and energy to go out there campaign for your minority opinion is commendable, so I see no logical reasons for these hooligans to engage in this stupidity.
I don't want to get too "heal the world" here, but there's over 100 people in the province, with wildly different views on everything from trade to abortion actively trying to persuade the locals to their way of thinking. I don't know if you've ever had a political discussion in a bar, but imagine making that your entire life for a month and potentially a career.
Ultimately, I think the least we can do is tell these people what we think. So I hope you vote.
Who I'm Voting For
Let's get the obvious out of the way. I'm not voting for the Green Party. Campaigns of hope and change are popular, especially given the culture to permeates in this place. They're just not realistic, though. It's always easy for people who have no power to proclaim the purity in which they'll act once they do. This rarely, if ever, holds true. I also have philosophical issues with programs like BIG. It completely plays in to cultural issues that plague the province. If the government will offer you enough money to live and not work, the people here have proven they'll often not work. Locals will build straw men of extreme cases where it may be marginally warranted, but any reasonable person can see the way EI is used. Institutionalizing it provincially is completely misguided in my view.
Needless to say, having even a smidgen of fiscal responsibility is important to me. In theory, this should exclude all three remaining parties, but easily the NDP more than the others. When 70% of the provincial budget is spent on public servants, perhaps it's not the wisest idea to elect the party in the pockets of the unions?
And then there were two. Now - this is the part where NDP and Green members well try to dismember my member from me proclaiming that I'm furthering a narrative of "red pill -vs- blue pill" and that's simply not true. Every Islander has a choice. I choose fiscal responsibility. Once either the Greens or NDP decides to start exercising some, they'll certainly become a consideration.
I started this election process with a simple premise I would tell to anyone who would listen: If both of the viable parties are equally horrible on social issues (abortion, specifically) then why would I also give the keys to the guy who's party has been shitting the bed for the last 8 years?
Really, the only way I was going to end up voting Liberal this election was if Rob Lantz completely shit the bed this election.
And he did.
After seeing the debate performances, including a bizarre diatribe at the end of the education debate, I don't see how any person with eyes could view him as leadership material. Of the 4 candidates he may have (mostly) the best platform (aside from women's rights of course). In fact, there are considerable points to be given for being the one candidate to stand up and say government isn't going to fix all your problems. Yet somehow, of the 4 candidates he comes off as the least authentic, the least sincere, and just generally kinda shady.
It's not this alone that caused me to change my mind.
I am yet to be convinced that the Liberal party isn't going to make significant change to abortion services. Even in the CBC debate, it was made pretty clear that *something* was going to change if not bringing the service directly to Island. I think baby steps are better than no steps, so even if that's the case it may have been enough to get my vote. I don't believe we're going to see baby steps though. I think new plans and recommendations will be made. They'll be VERY expensive. In the interest of costs savings, the plan that was previously scrapped (or some version similar) will be instituted. I have no inside baseball information on this, but it seems to be the most logical progression.
The final reason I'm voting Liberal is because I'm in a swing riding. I live in district 14** and it seems like the NDP candidate is gaining traction here. In the unlikely scenario that this riding actually ends up holding influence on where the power in the legislature resides - it's becoming increasingly clear that voting PC is the equivalent of setting a vote on fire. This is no knock on my local PC candidate, in fact she did swing by the house (while I wasn't there) as did Mrs.Casey.
At the end of the day, I'm voting Liberal. If at all possible, I'll seem as disgruntled as possible while doing it. It's a bit of a question of "Which glass of lime juice would you rather drink?" Ideally, I'd like another option, but I preach far too often about letting the perfect stand in the way of the good as is. It's time to follow my own advice in that regard.
*Let's not minimize the the shittiness of this part, either. Some people can be downright awful.
**I was SO close to having a cool Hunger Games district number. Guess I have to move.