Monday, April 25, 2011

Who to Vote For: The Federal Edition

Another election is upon us.  In Ontario it will be the third election in just about a year.  Last October was the municipal election, currently there is a federal election underway and in October a provincial election is scheduled.  And yet some of us, like Vaughan, will have seen four elections in that time frame.

I currently reside in Richmond Hill and have been investigating which one of the four candidates to vote for and what each of the parties they represent stand for.  Through this investigation I've come up with nothing. You would think when candidates are applying for a job that pays over one hundred thousand dollars per year the parties and candidates would bring their "A Game" to the table.

First the incumbent for Richmond Hill, Bryon Wilfert (Liberal). Bryon claims on his website he has been an MP in Ottawa for this area for over ten years.  At least he puts out his political involvement with various committees and positions he has held in the past.  However, what had Bryon done outside of politics like in the private sector as a businessman or volunteer.  About all we know about Bryon is that he has been honoured with various honourary chairs and memberships in over ten volunteer organizations.  However, this doesn't say whether he was originally a volunteer or member of these organizations for a certain amount of time and did good works with them or did these organizations just honorarily bestow these memberships on him whilly nilly.  About the only thing I know about Bryon is that he has a mother who needed hospital care and he has been involved in politics for a long period of time both municipally and federally.  Too bad there is nothing else on his website that I can see as being more in touch with the community. 

Bryon's other problem is his leader, Michael Ignatieff, who has failed to attend House of Commons votes over seventy percent of the time.  So Bryon's leader and, I would surmise, his supposed muse for politics who is supposed to show his MPs how it is done has a worse attendance record for votes in the House of Commons than the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.  Stephen of course did miss votes but at least he has other duties like meeting with foreign dignataries at home and overseas as well as other similar Prime Ministerial duties.  I can't imagine what more important duties Michael Ignatieff would have as the leader of Official Opposition than being in the House of Commons ensuring the government of the day is held to account and voting as the constituents he represents sees fit.

The next two candidates have the same issue and it is a major one.  Neither of the following candidates lives in the Richmond Hill riding. If you do not live in the riding you wish to represent. How can someone represent an area if they do not even live there?  How can someone know intimately what the issues are in the riding if they have not experienced them for themselves?   Both Costas Menegakis (Conservative) and Cameron Hastings (Green) live in Richmond Hill.  Costas lives in neighbouring Markham while Cameron lives in Scarborough. 

Cameron has a major issue as even his own volunteers don't seem to know where the Richmond Hill riding starts and stops.  This past Sunday I viewed campaign signs for Cameron at the corner of Yonge Street & Bernard Avenue in the town of Richmond Hill.  Today I saw signs on the west side of Bathurst Street & Autumn Hill Blvd.  The problem is neither of these locations is within the riding of Richmond Hill as set out by Elections Canada.  The Yonge & Bernard location is within the riding of Oak Ridges-Markham and the Bathurst and Autumn Hill is in the riding of Thornhill.  None of the opposing parties candidates made this mistake. 

So neither Costas or Cameron I can really trust as they do not even live in the riding they are running for.  In fact it appears their parties merely parachuted them into the riding. 

This leaves the NDP candidate of Adam DeVita.  Adam I have yet to hear from in terms of campaign literature or in person by any of his campaign volunteers or himself.  All I've seen of his campaign is lawn signs up and down Yonge Street.  I have yet to see one on actual front lawn of a supporter.  This is opposed to his competition who have lawn signs on several neighbourhood lawns in front of houses.  As well, his website is the local riding associations website and he doesn't seem to have one of his own.  Of his campaign website he has a sparse bio stating he has lived in Richmond Hill for 35 years and he works in the technology sector.  However, he doesn't say much beyond being a member of Richmond Hill United Church as his volunteer work.  He also doesn't mention what his platorm is as a candidate for Richmond Hill. The only thing he really has on it in terms of platform is broad NDP policies placed on an electronic version of campaign literature with such a poor layout that it should be turned over to a high school student to improve. Bottom line, if you want a job that pays over 100,000 at least put a little effort into it.

In Richmond Hill the question comes down to the following, who do you want to represent you?

1. Someone whose leader believes it is fine to not be in the House of Commons for over seventy percent of all votes?

2. Do you want someone who doesn't live in the riding?

3. Do you want someone who believes the entire process is a high school assignment?

Who to vote for in Richmond Hill is all in how you answer the above questions.

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