Friday, September 30, 2011

Election Time on the Island

Well, fall is in the air (although not as cruely as it can be) and while we still have soybeans to harvest, the farm is winding down a bit and I feel some rants building up.  Lucky for my brother Mark who seems to have missed them so much, he called me on the day that the local radio call-in show was talking about spanking kids just to see if I was as riled up as he hoped.  Fortunately for all Maritime listeners, I had turned off the radio when I heard the topic, knowing that I would be annoyed.  See Mom?  I've come a long way! 

Anyway, since it's election time and we all know how I love politics, I can't miss out on an opportunity to squeeze in a quick one before Monday's voting day. 
Firstly, elections on PEI (or at least since I've moved here) are fairly uneventful and mostly because the parties are all pretty much the same, with VERY similar platforms.  There's no ominpotent leader coming up with crazy crime bills and staring down the enemy.  There's no exciting left wing party who sneaks up from behind and makes a great showing.  There's no real engagement at all actually, as far as I can tell, this time around at least.
The one thing the Island DOES have, is an eccentric, without-credibility leader who has genuine good ideas, but simply cannot and NEVER WILL reach the people who would ever want to support her. I am talking of course about Sharon Labchuck, our Green party leader.  And it's no secret that I love the Greens, so it's not a party-bias thing.  She's an old hippy with passionate ideas who is will informed about the serious consequences of monocropping and large scale potato production and chemicals and the general evils of industrial anything.  The party platform is actually fairly sound.  It's based on a lot of long term solutions, so not something that any short sighted voter is interested in, but has really good ideas about preventing the problems before they start (reminscent of organic production perhaps?)  Elizabeth May came to PEI during the election and showed her support, and using the exact same platform as Sharon, sold a very believable, conceivable and desirable future based on voting Green.  Unfortunately for Elizabeth May, Sharon Labchuck continues to undo all her good work like the lose hem on a homemade broomstick skirt of many colours. 
For those who aren't familiar with Labchuck, she's the one who some years ago caused a stir when she posed in a potato field with nothing on but a gasmask. And I mean NOTHING.  In all the debates she answers virtually all of her questions with references to pesticides and poisons.  She came out yesterday saying that we should ban hunting completely. 
As Mark and I heard that on the radio we shared a wincing eye roll and Mark began to tell me a story he was told by a friend who heard it from his uncle about how Sharon had attended a local community meeting called to discuss recent coyote kills of livestock.  As the story progressed I quickly recognized it as an old sheep joke, frequently told in appropriate (or inappropriate as it may be) circles by old farmers.  In that moment it occured to me that since the story was being told locally as gospel, but was actually a fictional internet joke of yore, Labchuck had truly lost every credibility as a legitimate candidate.  When a ridiculous joke seems plausible because your character is so out there, how can you expect people to follow and support you? 
So, the Greens are out.
The NDP on the Island are run by a bit of a buffoon who's been in the news over his own financial problems so not exactly instilling the highest level of economic confidence.
There's a real, tangible rural/urban divide in the Liberal party and platform with the rural not the side coming out on top.  To top that off, my own Liberal candidate lied to my face when he came canvassing at my door and he's generally a bit of a fool.  I have a personal rule that people shouldn't be politicians if my 2 year old could beat them at a 4-H public speaking competition and poor Georgie falls into that category the minute he opens his mouth.  And he was the Minister of Ag last time around for heaven's sake!  So, he's out (although will be back in I'm sure-since he's a potato farmer, in potato country).
That leaves me with the Tories.  Can you believe it.  This has come down to the lesser of the evils which is always a sad day for politics anywhere.  I actually really like the Conservative leader and not just because she's a feisty woman throwing her leadership in the face of all those old white haired big-and-small-C-conservative men who are still raw over her winning the convention.  I actually believe her convictions which is more than I can say for Ghiz.  When my local candidate showed up, I thought he was here to buy chicken until he finally introduced himself at the end of the conversation, but he seemed very sincere as well.  (My dad would say that it's easy to be sincere if you don't stand a chance of winning.)
So what is a green-blooded, Tory-bred, political-loving girl to do!? 
Ruin my ballot?  Surely not!

But alas, what will Monday bring?  More of the same.  More of the same.  More of the same.

Since you made it to the end of this rant, here's a funny bit from the Rick Mercer Report for your enjoyment.  So apt, in true Mercer style. 

Hope this finds you enjoying these cool nights and finding it tricky to crawl out of the warm bed with the fresh morning breeze blowing in the window.  Here's hoping the frost hasn't found your garden yet, although we had a dandy a couple mornings ago.  So thick the grass crunched under our feet. Winter is indeed en route.


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