Tuesday, September 22, 2015

the vote split on the left

Oh the confusions of democracy. I come from fierce NDP stock but have been wavering about on the left for years. Who to vote for, with Mulcair promising to balance the budget (what??!) and to allow separatism with only 51% of the vote (very dangerous) and Trudeau voting to support Bill C51 (bad move) and promising a deficit budget that invests in infrastructure (good move usually more NDP than Lib) ... Back and forth, splintering the vote on the left, not to mention the divisive Greens, while the Conservatives have hired some hideous rightwing adman and are hammering away at the paranoids about terrorism and financial collapse. It makes my head hurt.

My riding is so far left that at the all-candidates meeting I went to tonight, the Conservative didn't even bother to show up. The Green guy did but was an embarrassing lightweight, even he admitted it. That left two heavyweights - the NDP's Linda McQuaig and Liberal Bill Morneau. I have Linda's sign in front of my house, and several of my dear neighbours have been arguing with me relentlessly about the NDP's weak spots, so I went tonight to help make up my mind.

The tragedy is that they're both great candidates; he is very impressive and so is she. They agree on many things, including the shameful way the Harper government has responded to the refugee crisis. They agree on homelessness, on senior poverty, on immigration. They just disagree on how to pay to fix these things; Morneau talks the Lib line about a deficit budget for the next few years to pay for massive infrastructure investment in transit, housing, which will create employment.

McQuaig points out that the Libs are not talking about increasing the corporate tax rate; she says the NDP would tax the richest, invest heavily where the money is needed, including in universal child care, and still balance the books, "as Tommy Douglas did for seven straight budgets, while founding Medicare!" she said, to roars of applause, including mine.

I'm still torn. At the moment, since my vote doesn't matter anyway in terms of defeating the Conservatives, I'm going to vote for the woman who's such a feisty fighter with head, heart and soul. A friend who was at the meeting said, beforehand, "The last thing this riding needs is another wealthy businessman representing us." (Though I don't think any wealthy businessman have in fact ever represented us...) In any case, Bill Morneau is a great deal more than that; he's a terrific guy who has been on several meaningful boards - though also on the board of the small c conservative C. D. Howe Foundation - and has founded a school for girls in a refugee camp in Africa. But he doesn't need this the way she does. So I'm voting Linda. For now. But we have weeks to go. I'm exhausted already.

Speaking of the 10% - on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I went on the Cabbagetown Tour of Homes, where for a fundraising fee we get to see a bunch of the classy houses of the 'hood. My neighbour Richard says it's simply about being able to admire interesting architecture, renovations and interior design, whereas I see it as rich people showing off their ridiculously expensive bathrooms and stoves and the vast number of pillows on their enormous beds. I wanted to see inside the house up the street, a wonderful mansion which took two years to renovate - and sure enough, it was renovated within an inch of its life and much too decorated for my taste, as were nearly all of them. The one I liked was the one where the inhabitants were reading really good books - Lydia Davis on the bedside table! Not THAT'S impressive. And an unpretentious comfortable well-used kitchen and good art. I liked them.

Oh my she's judgmental.

NOT judgmental Monday night at my class, where the students read their essays for the first time. Sheer pleasure to hear people open up and begin the journey into their own stories. OMG I love my job.


  1. Oh, you're so sweet! What a talent to read between everyone's lines and find a positive constructive and encouraging comment! I'm glad you choose to teach.

  2. Ann, I haven't begun to deconstruct your essays yet. But we'll get there, and then I won't seem so sweet! But thank you, I do love teaching. A born Bossyboots, as an old friend used to call me.