Shared principles, no matter what


Now, with Pontiac’s first newly minted official candidate named – Todd Hoffman, running for the PPC – we are undeniably in election mode, although it could be as long as a year before the next federal election is underway. Of course, the incumbent, Sophie Chatel of the Liberals, will be an automatic candidate for her party as long as she wants to run again. There’s no indication that she’ll withdraw, and she seems to have a great deal of support for her efforts in the last term. With Mr. Hoffman’s candidature, plus the still-to-come Conservatives and the NDP, the Pontiac should have a very clear choice, from Right to Left.

This is important, that we have as full a choice for our representative in Ottawa as possible; but we have to remember that in Canada’s party system, it’s more important how many MPs each party has, more than who is a star candidate or not. The Pontiac may make a statement to the country by whom we elect, but unless that MP has enough support in the House, Pontiac won’t be throwing its weight around in Ottawa, even if we elect a Superwoman/man. Hence any hysteria about votes for a Fascist – or a Communist – is an over-reaction.

It is more important for the health of our democracy that we do have a clear opportunity to cast our votes right across the spectrum. For those who look around the world and see the chaos and political conflict in the EU or the USA as a global threat, they must recognize that our commitment to democracy comes first, and that democracy
is at its healthiest when every citizen has the opportunity to vote as they see best, Left or Right, or along the middle.

It is an entirely different matter when we look over our candidates to see which one(s) might deliver the most for Pontiac’s economic, cultural and social needs. Here, single MPs can be standard-bearers, but unlikely can deliver the aid we need without allies. This is looking at our local needs; we also want a government which can work with other states to produce some of the larger gains.

Nor should we vote only for a candidate from a big party capable of forming a government – that would be counter-productive for change and progress, leading to stagnation or eventually to one-party rule.

But most of all, when democratic structures are under attack, everywhere, it seems, sometimes deliberately, and sometimes just through citizen apathy – it is important that we make the opportunity to have every choice (and voice) heard, period.