Wanderings – Where are the candidates?

Canadians will go to the polls on September 20, but you would not know it by the election preparedness of political parties in some ridings.

Take this riding – Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry – for example, where as of this paper’s publication deadline, there is one declared candidate in the election race and we know of one more who is getting approved by his party.

The already declared candidate has been for months, because he is the incumbent Member of Parliament. No surprise there. But what is surprising – or for that matter a bit insulting – is that no other parties in this riding are prepared for an election.

No other party has done the work ahead of time to be ready. No nomination meetings, not even a parachute candidate from some other part of the country, nothing.

The last federal election was October 21, 2019 and the result of that election was a minority government. That meant that at any time, we could face another election.

The various parties have been holding meetings for months, but not here. Other than the blue team, none of the other SDSG riding associations have bothered to put the effort in to prepare for this eventuality.

I don’t think this unpreparedness can be blamed on the pandemic either. This is a systemic issue in the SDSG riding.

To make matters worse, many of these same riding associations offer little-to-no communication, making it even more difficult to ascertain answers.

This paper only learned late Monday night (August 16) of a second candidate. This was after more than a week of trying to track down the information.

The sign of a healthy democracy is vigorous debate, the exchange of ideas, and the discussion of issues at election time.

We have four mainstream political parties and many more fringe parties. Why is there so little consideration for who runs in SDSG?

It could be that other parties do not feel that this riding is winnable against an incumbent. That is the wrong attitude to have.

All voters across Canada have the right to participate in elections and deserve to have representative options from all major political parties to choose from. That includes this riding here.

It is little wonder that political support for some candidates seems overwhelming. Would you vote for a party that doesn’t seem ready to represent your community?

Luckily we live in a country where we still have the option to choose, and on September 20 – despite the candidate selection in SDSG – we will get to exercise it. I look forward to it.

Originally published in the August 18, 2021 issue of The Leader.