I have spent countless, honestly, a ridiculous amount, of hours pondering this federal election.
I woke up today as nervous as I did the day I was elected to Council in my own town. Why are some of us driven to care so much about the outcome of the vote? Who knows. But I can tell you, my life would not be the same without it. And despite the butterflies and total disregard to household detail, I’m grateful for it.
That’s been the trend (with one exception), I must admit. But if I get any sleep tonight, it’s because I think this time is different. You see, it’s not a general election for me, it’s a generational one.
So I will lay bare all my votes this past so many years. I hope I remember most of them. But I’m getting to the age where the details get a bit fuzzy.
1984 – I voted for Jean Jacques Blais – a Liberal Cabinet Minister. A stand up guy. He wrote me a letter of reference for the Parliamentary Page Programme. When offered six tickets to the Queen’s State Dinner in Toronto that same year, he invited high school students instead of campaign donors – I made that list. All round stand up guy. Got pummelled by a nice guy named Mo. Tough lesson. Something about “patronage” and “not having a choice”. We always have choices.
1988 – As a young economics student, I was enthralled by the possibility of “free” trade. I voted Conservative. The Liberal incumbent, who I would eventually work for, won handily. He understood that serving the constituents was his number one job and they rewarded him for that. Lesson learned.
1993 – I voted for Kim Campbell. Her house was two doors down from my apartment in Vancouver. I learned that being a good neighbour was more important than politics.
1997 – I honestly can’t remember. I don’t think I voted Liberal because the candidate had spelling mistakes in the flyers and I was in the publishing business. Fickle, I know.
2000 – I voted for Joe Clark. I always liked him. Still do. No go.
2004 – Again, not sure. Maybe Jean Charest. He was a Minister when I was a Page. Nice guy. Capable. young, promising. A girl can dream. He lost too.
2006 – Likely Conservative – I liked (and still like) Colin Mayes, Mayor of Salmon Arm and new federal candidate at the time. They won. Just barely.
2008 – Liberal – though I was uninspired by the local candidate. Was seeing that my 2006 vote might not have paid the dividends I’d hoped for.
2011 – Green – Elizabeth May continues to be a powerful and inspiring voice. I hope tomorrow’s winner remembers that.
2015 – This time, I’ll vote Liberal. And it’s the first time, I feel great about the candidate AND the leader. I feel good about the vote for my parents (whom, I’m sorry to say, haven’t figured greatly in my previous votes). My mom is, to say the least, not a fan of Harper. My dad is unsure about “young Justin”. I hope they don’t cancel out each other’s vote. But I know they’ll vote as they need to because they are honest, determined, smart, kind and considerate. But mostly, I feel good about a Liberal vote for the young people in my life. My kids, my nieces and nephews and their friends, my students, the young people I get to work with every day. It’s their Canada now. And I want them to have that.
So maybe, just maybe, the lesson is that when you cast a vote for you, it doesn’t always turn out as you might have liked but when you cast a vote for the benefit of the people you love and care about, things work out.
Trudeau Sr. was famous for quoting Desiderata by Max Ehrmann “The universe is unfolding as it should”. Here’s hoping.