This article in today’s Toronto Star caught my eye. It’s about how more than a few Conservative candidates have been missing local debates and dodging local reporters. The reason why it grabbed my attention is because I’ve being hearing how my riding’s Tory candidate has often been M.I.A. when it comes to public events (though she did show up to an all-candidates debate on Monday night).
When I first heard that my Tory candidate was skipping out on some events, I just thought it had to do with the fact that she’s running in a riding (Toronto’s Parkdale-High Park) that she doesn’t stand a chance in hell in winning. I can understand that given how the odds are against her, she might not be giving this race her everything. After all, events such as debates and interviews are time-consuming and stressful.
But after reading that Star article and this Liberal press release, I no longer believe that this is just the case of one Tory candidate deciding that she has better things to do with her time than trying to fight an unwinnable battle. I mean, Tony Clement, the current health minister, is abstaining from some public debates as is Rob Anders, the current MP for Calgary West. As incumbents who are likely going to hold onto their seats, their decisions to not attend various local events is just plain arrogant.
And overall, I find this whole situation a bit disturbing. Voting isn’t just about voting for a particular party, it’s also about voting for the two individuals who represent that party – the party leader and the potential MP. By going “silent”, these Conservative candidates are in way reducing themselves to technicalities in the voting process, leaving the public to decide who to vote for based on the party itself and its leader.
But I guess maybe that’s it, that for whatever reason, these individuals have decided that it’s better for the party and Harper if they stay quiet and out of sight. While this might turn out to be a very effective strategy, it certainly isn’t a very democratic one. How is the public supposed to know if a Tory candidate is truly worthy of their votes if that candidate won’t stand up and publically discuss what s/he believe in? I’m not a Conservative but if I was, I’d be pretty pissed that my candidate wasn’t showing up at local debates.
Speaking of debates, I hope that everyone is looking forward to tonight’s leaders’ debate. Remember, the first person in the room to suggest switching to the US V.P. debate has to chug a whole bottle of American beer.