The Political Game and the Hockey Game

Since the date for French-language debate was moved to accommodate the hockey game, I’ll use a hockey analogy here: the first part of the campaign was the regular season, and now we’re into the play-offs with Game 7 of the final being on May 2—election day. There won’t be a silver cup hoisted, but I’m sure there will be plenty of cheers, and some tears, by both the winning and losing teams. There may even be champagne.

If we can get excited about hockey, surely we can get excited about this  game of politics. It affects far more of us, in a far more important way.

To David Remington, politics matters. It matters to him who runs the country and how they do business.  He knows politics having served his local municipality as a councillor and mayor, and working as former Liberal MP Larry McCormick’s Parliamentary Assistant.  Dave knows business too, as he has owned a variety of businesses, including a coffee shop and a movie theatre, over the past 20 years. He is committed to making the communities in his riding better.

As a  second time Liberal candidate in the huge riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington  Dave says people are getting to know him and feel more comfortable with him than they did in the last election. People like to vote for people they know, and they like to do business with people they know. With Dave in Ottawa, and when he’s back in the riding, they’ll be able to do both.

“I want to be a Member of Parliament who is accessible to residents, and involved in our riding,” he says. Working together we can achieve our goals, hopes, and dreams.”

Goals, hopes, and dreams—when was the last time you really believed those words could belong in politics?

After watching the debates this week, it was hard to tell if any of the leaders, including Michael Ignatieff, were keeping the goals, hopes, and dreams of Canadians in mind.  They seemed to be, at times, talking more about their own personal goals rather than the goals they have for the country. Stephen Harper desperately wants to lead a majority government, which Ignatieff rightly told him he hasn’t earned.  Jack Layton is concerned that he will be marginalized. Gilles Duceppe got in some good zingers and seemed to be providing comic relief more than anything. Since Duceppe doesn’t field candidates nationally, why was he even part of this national leaders’ debate? Ignatieff didn’t really address Layton’s comment (attack?) about Ignatieff’s attendance record in the House of Commons.   He can’t make anyone’s goals, hopes, or dreams a reality if he’s not there.

He says he’ll give Canadians a chance to be more engaged by having a “Citizens Question Period”, according to Dave Remington. “Citizens can send in questions to be addressed in Question Period, and they will be answered by Ignatieff and his ministers,” Dave told me. I guess Ignatieff plans on being in the House more often. At least he’d better be.

For me, the debates didn’t really produce a clear winner, and I’m sure each of the parties is putting their “spin” on how their guy did—I have to say “guy” because Elizabeth May wasn’t there as she should have been.

As I said in Democracry, Hypocrisy, and Harperocracy, I’m going to be critical when I think it’s called for. Ignatieff has not lived up to my expectations in the past, but he’s making up for it now. He looked quite Prime Ministerial, especially during the French-language debate. In both debates he was confident, and laid out his plans well, when given the opportunity. He also had Harper on the defensive, especially about the reasons for this election–and we know it has nothing to do with coalitions and everything to do with a need for democracy. Ignatieff needs to keep that momentum going, and keep reminding Canadians that we *do* need this election.

I know hockey is an important part of our culture, but this game is far more important. Politics matters to Dave Remington—and to me—it should matter to you too. I’ll be voting for Dave, and I hope you will vote for the Liberal candidate in your area, but the main thing is that you get out and vote.

Follow these play-offs in your area by attending All-Candidates meetings, and/or calling your candidate’s campaign office.

All-Candidates Meetings for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington

 April 20—Verona Lions Hall—7:00 p.m.

April 21—Napanee Lions Hall—6:30 p,m.

April 27—Carleton Place—7:00 p.m.

April 28—Amherst Island School—7:00 p.m.

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