6 Candidates, 2 Hours, Lots Of Confused Voters

This morning, our local candidates were on the radio participating in yet another debate. Since we missed all the other ones, we decided to listen to this one so we would have a hope of choosing the right person to vote for. As we sat here, we noticed more and more stuff that we thought deserved a blog post. So, here were our observations as the debate went along.

Before we get started, let’s name the players. We have our current MPP, Liz Sandals of the Liberal party. Next, we have Bob Senechal representing the conservatives. Karan Mann-bowers is running for the NDP. Then, we have Ben Polley for the greens. Rounding out the field are Drew Garvie for the communist Party and John Gots for the Family Coalition. Now, on with the show!

Jesus lord! out of the six candidates, three of them said nucular when talking about nuclear energy. hello, it’s pronounced nuclear! Nuclear! Clear! Let’s not talk like George W. Bush!

Poor Liz Sandals. She can’t pronounce turbine. She kept referring to them as wind turbins. She even talked about “turbin farms.” So there are people busy making those bandana things for people’s heads? What are they growing them out of?

A note to John Gots: John, your microphone please. Man oh man, it was hard to pay attention to what this guy had to say because he would a. mumble, b. cause his microphone to squeak and thump by playing with it, and c. just not make sense when you could make him out. We were dreading when it was his turn to speak. We wanted him to have the first closing statement so we could get him out of the way!

When we could pay attention to him, he wasted no time pissing us off. There was a question raised about what was going to be done to remedy the problem of Ontario Disability Support Program recipients living below the poverty line. This asshole had the audacity to say that it had to be mandated that people with disabilities must contribute to society. hello! We already are! Most of the ones we know are doing their damnedest to do so. It just shows what he thinks of us as a group, or at the very least, what he knows about us. He certainly didn’t win either of our votes with that little gem of a sentence. Many of us don’t need to be told to contribute to society. Besides, the disabled voter is already talked down to enough, thank you very much, Mr. Gots.

Wow, John Gots isn’t really aiming to win over people who already have their doubts about him. Not sure whether that shows balls or stupidity. In a discussion of what to do about Aboriginal land claims, one of the few phrases that came out of his mouth that we could make out was something about us needing to use the law of the land to solve this problem. Um, pretty sure aboriginal people understand the law of the land there big guy. It doesn’t really work in their favour. It used to, and then the white people came along, and…

Moving on from poor old John Gotts, let’s hammer poor Drew Garvie for a while. If you’re low on votes, the least you can do is present yourself as a confident speaker. He did say a couple of things that were cool among the um’s and uh’s and er’s though, so it wasn’t a total loss. Not sure if either of us would do much better if put into the same situation, but if we were going to be, we’d practice until we were at least half-way good. All that stammering is distracting, and it takes away from the point you’re trying to get across.

Ben Polley, on the other hand, is a good talker. I think he could take all of them to school on how to speak well. When everybody was caught off guard by some of the questions, he was the only one who consistently recovered himself and found the words to form a clear answer.

CJOY needs to work on their call screening just a little. For the most part it was ok, but somehow a question managed to get through about a federal issue that wasn’t really relevant to anything, and not only that, the person had the facts of the question all wrong to begin with. In the future it might be wise to do a quick Google search if you’re not sure about putting somebody on the air. And note to the old lady, the bill you were talking about would *not* allow people 14 and under to have sex with anybody they want. And what exactly did you mean by “what would you do to help?” Are you making your decision based on each candidate’s child porn cred?

This has nothing to do with politics, but the car dealership commercial they kept playing all morning, the one that had the wacky beeps through it, made it sound like the guy was saying he’d fuck the man into next week rather than knock him there. If that’s what he wants to do then he can knock…er…fuck himself out, we just thought it needed a mention.

Of course, the issue of funding faith-based schools came up. The answers were pretty much what you’d expect, though it was interesting to hear Bob Senechal say that if the issue came to a vote, that he’d vote against it. Good old John said that his solution would be to take all of the money in the education budget, divide it up equally and give each child his share. He didn’t explain what would happen after that, which is kind of important. Do we leave it up to each child to decide which school he funds and how much his teachers and janitors get paid?

The answer to this issue is simple. Stop funding Catholic schools. there’s no need, and it creates too much overlap. What we need is one board that takes all comers no matter what. It’s unacceptable that Catholic schools can refuse to take special education students. Things like that are in no way in the public interest, and the sooner they can be eliminated, the better.

Drew Garvie said essentially that, but added that religion should not be taught in public school. That’s a little extreme. It should be taught, but it should be taught in the manner that subjects like history, or more closely related to this issue mythology, are taught now. Present them as viewpoints, things that people believe/believed to be true.

During a discussion about wait times in emergency rooms, John Gotts actually managed to score some sympathypoints by telling a story about waiting for nearly 7 hours in the ER at Guelph General Hospital after cutting his finger off with a circular saw only to be told that there was nobody available to see him. He was given the choice of going to either London or Hamilton for treatment, but there was no ambulance to take him, so he had to either wait almost another hour for one or drive himself. That’s the kind of thing people can relate to, real stories about real problems that need fixing.

And Liz, the fact that heart attack and stroke victims get quicker emergency room attention than other people is nothing to crow about, it’s common sense. If things worked any other way, deaths and lawsuits would be the order of the day, and then we’d have even more of a money problem.

It’s sad that the most important question in any election is one that can never be answered. Certainly every voter has the right to wonder why he should believe what a political party says, but there’s no concrete way for a candidate to say something and then demonstrate that her word is good. Circumstances change, and sometimes the moon is promised but you’re lucky to get out with a small piece of space junk and it’s really nobody’s fault.

We know what Ben Polley was going for when he answered this question, but it was one of the few places where he stumbled. He made a big deal out of the fact that the Greens were the only party to post their values statements online for the world to see. So what? Every party sends out campaign literature, and all of it is of equal value. In the end you’re judged on your record as it is, not as you hope it’s going to be when you write it out beforehand.

It was nice to hear Karan Mann-Bowers say that “strategic voting” is a silly way to do things. Both of us have always wondered about people who vote to keep others out rather than to get their favourites in. Newsflash kids, if enough of you actually voted the way you wanted to, your guy just might win a seat or 2.

Amazingly, it took an hour and a half for an
outraged area resident
to make it on the air. As soon as we heard the growly-voiced “mornin’ sir”, we knew there was going to be trouble, and apparently the CJOY folks did too. They let him talk anyway, at least for a minute until it became obvious that he wasn’t going to calm down and ask a question. Hanging up on a guy mid sentence during a debate that he’s technically paying for is always fun. Not saying he didn’t deserve it though, and good on the call screeners for only letting 2 nutjobs through all morning.

It was nice to hear somebody ask a question about funding for natural medicine. That’s not an issue that comes up much. Sadly nobody really gave a good answer, which was somewhat surprising. The Green Party came close, but other than that it was slim pickins for good ideas with everybody saying that it was worth looking into or in the case of the NDP, “I don’t know how to respond to that.” For the benefit of all candidates, the right answer is maybe we should regulate it. There’s certainly a market for these types of treatments and if we’re going to fund them, we need to take steps to ensure that the care is up to the high standards Ontarians should expect. Feel free to rip that off word for word or put your own little spin on it, the choice is yours.

On the issue of companies taking ground water for bottling operations, Liz Sandals said that the law clearly states that when companies and municipalities are in competition for the same water, the municipalities always win. Ok, so why are we letting them take water and sell it back to us then? Aren’t we *always* in competition for water? If there were no issues about where water was coming from, there would be no need to cut back on the sprinklers every year would there? And beyond that, it’s an issue of long-term thinking. Right now things might be ok, but what about when populations grow and the demands on the existing water supply grow with them? Are we supposed to accept that we can no longer use the tap water we all pay for now and that we have to buy it again, only this time in plastic bottles at a ridiculously high mark-up?

The closing statements were pretty uneventful, save for Liz Sandals using scare tactics to try to win votes. “You can vote Liberal and keep Ontario moving forward, or you can vote for another party and end up with a Conservative government.” Oh come on! I [Steve] will more than likely be voting for you on election day, but I’d like to think that you are secure enough to not need to resort to that kind of fear mongering and manipulation. Of everybody around that table, you’re the only one who has a respectable record to play with, don’t screw it up.

Carin, you seemingly undecided voter you, who won?

From a debating standpoint, definitely the Green Party. As for who I’m voting for, probably the Liberals, but I’m going to have to do some real thinking between now and voting time.

Fair enough. Just remember to vote yes for MMP on the referendum.

Ok, I will.

Well, that’s everything. Hopefully some of you enjoyed this. Maybe we’ll do it again sometime, but hopefully not too soon. We’ve had way too many elections in the last 4 years for anybody’s tastes, so here’s hoping for a break.

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