CARP White Rock-Surrey chapter president Ramona Kaptyn is encouraging voters to do their research before heading to the polls.                                 File photo

CARP White Rock-Surrey chapter president Ramona Kaptyn is encouraging voters to do their research before heading to the polls. File photo

PENINSULA ZOOMERS: Take time to research before casting vote

Don’t get lost in thicket of signs, attack ads, advises CARP White Rock-Surrey chapter president

The writ has been dropped and once again Canadians will hopefully vote in another federal election on Oct. 21.

Guest columnist Ramona Kaptyn, CARP White Rock-Surrey chapter president, shares her thoughts:

Can’t help myself – I’m a political junkie.

And at one time or another in my life, I was also a journalist, a teacher and a foreign aid worker, and I am a consummate volunteer.

Just before leaving my assignment in Bangladesh in 2006, there were demonstrations, strikes and sieges leading up to the elections. The opposition alliance and the ruling party both instructed people to take to the streets with ‘sticks, rowers, paddles and sickles.’ People were killed and many injured. I was grateful that Canadian politics were somewhat boring.

It’s now 2019 and what is transpiring in North America is anything but boring.

The USA is going through the most bizarre few years of mud slinging by politicians and polite Canada is witnessing much of the same.

At the White Rock Sunday market, I observed a man wearing a T-shirt that depicted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being given a mammoth middle finger. Andrew Scheer is being memed as hated Harper’s second coming. Social media is drowning in hashtags like #TrudeauForJail2019; #comeoutoftheclosetscheer; #mayisadrunk and much worse. And it’s not only social media – mainstream media has camped to the far right or left (with a few in the middle, thank goodness), ready to do battle as Canada goes to the polls on Oct. 21 . You can tell which is which by observing the photo accompanying the article showing a nasty or complimentary depiction of the leader leading the story.

As a representative of CARP nationally and locally, I am not supposed to favour one party over the other, so I just shake my head at all the nastiness and encourage voters to first look at their local candidates. Has your local candidate served your community well? Is he or she a team player? Approachable? Updating you on important issues or just lambasting the opposition with noxious nonsense?

There are many ways to see where your local representatives and leaders of parties stand or have voted on issues. Take some time and do some research. Does your party or your candidate support what is important to you?

Having voted for different parties at different times in my life, I cannot abide those who blindly vote for a certain party because they always have. Please don’t get lost in the thicket of lawn signs, attack ads or ‘I have always voted this way.’ Your vote should not be carved in stone.

I recommend going to The Zoomer Primary site where you will learn more about which leader deserves your trust, what issues are most important to you and which news is real and which is not. On the site, you can share your opinion, track all the late-breaking election news, follow the party platforms as they develop, keep track of the critical hot-button questions and understand all the relevant issues as they affect you.

It’s not just a case of Trudeau was a drama teacher or Scheer was an insurance salesman or May is a one-issue politician or Singh won’t be able to handle fierce debate in Quebec over religious symbols or Bernier is too radical to appeal to anyone but fringe voters. It’s about who has the best platform and how it is going to affect you and me, our children and grandchildren, and our great nation of Canada.

Thank you, Ramona for your insights. Ninety per cent of CARP members vote. Be one of them!

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.