Open letter to my prospective political representatives

I’ve grown to feel completely disenfranchised as a Canadian citizen, at all levels of government. I’ve tried voting with my head. I’ve tried voting with my heart. Every election, I feel as though my vote is wasted. So, now I’m trying something different.

With the civic election next month, and with what will hopefully be a federal election in the next few months, I’ve decided to base my vote on a single issue.

The candidate that puts forth the best set of policies and plans to most improve bicycle infrastructure will get my vote. I don’t care what party they’re with. I don’t care if they’re new to politics or are a 40 year veteran.

Show me how you will make bicycles a safer form of every day transportation. Show me the infrastructure and support you will create. Show me the legal strategy and social policies that will make it possible, even preferred, to use non-motorized transportation on a regular basis.

Then you’ll have my support, and my vote.

process corrupted


I’d initially just wanted to capture a quick shot of a student’s reaction to the latest trend in student election posters – all face/flash, no substance – but the image file got corrupted in camera. I think I like the double layers of messages in the end result.

I don’t remember student elections being so completely superficial and ego-driven when I was an undergrad. I’m sure there was some of that, but I remember platforms, slates, campaigning. Now, it seems as though all that you have to do is slap your face on a big poster, throw on a catchy phrase, and call it done. There are some creative posters, with some great photography and high production value, but it’s all about Student Election Idol, as opposed to running for anything. I hope it’s just a phase. I fear it’s not.


Election day in Canada. Democracy in action. Broken democracy, though. Our democracy is set up so that everyone to the west of Ontario knows, before they vote, that their vote is meaningless and wasted. That they don’t make a difference. And within my riding, I know, before I vote, that my voice is lost. That the sea of Reform/Conservative voters will wash away any of us who want to stand for something more than cutting taxes as the response to every issue.

My vote counts for nothing. My mother, who, along with my father, are staunch Harper supporters, who work in his campaign office, and have a giant HARPER billboard on their lawn, describes my support of the Green party as “spoiling my ballot”.

So be it.

My ballot is spoiled.

But I think it is an extremely important thing to do – to register dissent, rather than silently abstaining. To be one of the few who vote against the Harper madness. To make it known that tax cuts and cowtowing to Bush are not sufficient practices to properly govern this great country. Better to spoil a ballot than to spoil what’s left of our country by supporting Harper and his thugs.

My ballot is NOT spoiled. I have drawn my line in the sand. And I can only, desperately, hope that I’m not alone.

My ballot is not spoiled.

on democratic leader’s debates

It appears as though 3 of the 4 major national political parties have balked at the suggestion that Elizabeth May represent the Green Party at the televised leader’s debates.

The Green Party is a valid national party, now with a seat in Parliament (although the member was previously an Independent who switched to Green, not an elected Green MP).

According to The Canadian Press,

But Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday that letting May into the debate would be in essence allowing a second Liberal candidate to participate.

He said it would be fundamentally unfair to have two candidates who are essentially running on the same platform in the debate.


Harper gets to decide on who gets to participate in the debate based on his assessment of the uniqueness of their platform? That’s not how democracy works. The leader does not get to decide which voices get to be heard, or which issues will be discussed.

All this exercise tells me is that the televised leader’s debates are nothing more than sanitized synchronous press releases. If it was a valid and honest debate, the Green party would be represented (as well as, perhaps, a few other parties).

And Harper wasn’t the only leader to threaten to boycott the debates if the Greens were allowed to participate. The only leader that welcomed May was Stephane Dion. Which means that Layton and Duceppe are right up there with Harper in avoiding a real, meaningful, democratic debate.

Threatening to boycott a debate if another valid candidate is invited to participate? Childish and undemocratic.

Update: And for the Canadian media outlets that decided to not invite May to the debate so as not to upset the other candidates – you just lost any shred of objectivity. You are no longer a separate, objective, impartial media. You are nothing more than media outlets. You are not journalists, you are not unbiased. You are a press-release distribution network. The right thing to do would have been to respond to the 3 candidates that they are welcome to participate in the debate, and would be missed by the voting public if they choose not to show up.

Update 2: w00t! score one for democracy in Canada! The Green Party will be at the debates!