Of those who stake claim to be our next prime minister, we’re told one is just not ready, another’s heart is in Quebec, a third is intent on controlling public discussion and the last has no chance.
Not much choice, if you believe each of their detractors.
So I intend to focus my attentions closer to home, where we hear our candidates for MP say… nothing.
And their silence is mindnumbing.
Here we are, nearly four weeks into our country’s federal election, and I’m no closer to choosing my next member of Parliament than when the writs were issued on Aug. 2.
Perhaps those who have chosen to represent us have put all their efforts into getting their parties’ nominations, and are leaving such pesky details as campaigning to their leaders.
Perhaps they think there will be plenty of opportunities to get their messages out before we vote.
Perhaps they think they’ll do better by saying nothing.
Or perhaps, most disturbingly, they have nothing to say.
Whatever their reason for keeping mum now, I suggest they’re wasting valuable time.
Sure, we’re still in the early days of the longest election period in recent memory, but there’s only so much time in this hourglass to take hold of debate before it will be done for and to them.
Are they waiting for your questions; for us in the media to lob issues at them and see if any connect? They do so at their own peril.
The onus – and spotlight – is on them. Time to dance.
They want to be our leaders? I suggest they take the lead now, stating the issues that they will champion, how they will vote and, refreshingly, when and how they will stand up to their party and its leader in matters of conscience.
Finances, security, childcare, freedom, marijuana, rail safety, reform, bureaucracy… the list is virtually endless, and it would certainly be telling to know which issues they mention without first being asked.
As Peace Arch News editor, I’m among the first in line to receive news releases from their parties – with each party leader in recent days telling me what the others are doing wrong – but, so far, I have had just one email cross my desk from a local candidate. (That one, incidentally, was critical of a previous column in this space, not making a personal promise).
Perhaps I’m being unrealistic. Perhaps our local candidates defer to their leaders. Perhaps they have surrounded themselves by such party insiders that they truly believe all voters have made up their minds already.
They’d be wrong, by at least one vote.
I haven’t made up my mind, and any one of them could earn my vote based on what they say and do – or not – between now and election day on Oct. 19.
Their roadside placards and parties’ television ads do little to affect my vote, as those public statements (yes, even the attack ads) say next to nothing.
At least to me.
While I don’t know who many of my friends support, a number have made it all too clear who they’re not voting for. And, like the candidates themselves, it sounds like their minds are made up.
Yet my vote’s still for sale. Not to the highest bidder, but to the local candidate who earns my trust.
So tell me something meaningful. Don’t just espouse the party line; tell me what you, the candidate, will do in Ottawa that will somehow change my life.
This is an all-too-serious issue, but perhaps I’ll have the last laugh in seven weeks’ time when my eventual candidate of choice wins by a one-vote margin.
Lance Peverley is the editor of Peace Arch News.