Sticks and stones - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Everything about this federal election has been disappointing. It makes sense to start at the beginning and be clear that it’s disappointing that it was even called.
Don’t ever forget this column, in which I agreed with Premier Doug Ford twice. First when he called the election unnecessary, as Canada grapples with a fourth wave of COVID-19, and then when he said a federal vaccine passport would be the best way forward, rather than a provincial patchwork.
As the editor of a weekly newspaper, even trying to get news about the election and your local candidates out to you has been difficult. We had coverage of an all-candidates meeting last week (which we only knew about the day before it happened) and this week we will have questionnaires with the candidates a mere few days before the election. Many of you likely voted early or by mail - or you may just know who you’re voting for - but we did our best.
The candidates all did their best, as they were given just over a week to respond, which was the period between certification day and our latest-possible deadline. Again, life in the weekly news business can be challenging.
However, the real reason I wanted to write this column is the incident that took place in London last week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was pelted with a combination of rocks and gravel during a campaign stop.
Trudeau has been plagued by protests across the country. And while there are legitimate reasons to be frustrated with some of the Prime Minister’s decisions, resorting to violence is about as un-Canadian as it gets (unless you’re wearing skates and pads, I suppose). He has been dogged by the anti-mask, anti-vaccine crowd that is making a real name for itself, protesting outside of schools and hospitals, blocking ambulances from their destinations.
Now, while most of you will know that my heart lies left of centre in regards to politics (for those of you who read about Denny’s vote compass last week, know mine is equidistant between the Liberals and the NDP on the left and more progressive than the Green Party), I would be writing this column if gravel had been hurled at any of the party leaders. It’s just not how we Canadians comport ourselves.
That leads to what has really disappointed me about this election: how my fellow citizens have acted. When this partisan nastiness bubbled up in the U.S., giving us President Donald Trump, I was proud it wasn’t happening in Canada; that we, as Canadians, were better than that. Now, I’m not so sure.
While this may show my liberal bleeding heart, regardless of how my fellow Canadians vote on Sept. 20, it bums me out that we can’t elect our leader without people resorting to violence and inappropriate, divisive action.
Trudeau has downplayed the incident. He said it’s still a testament to Canadians that party leaders can walk down the street without fear of danger, as opposed to incidents like the insurrection at the Capitol building in the U.S. But, in my opinion, the country seems to be trending in a disappointing direction.
Whatever this country decides on Sept. 20 (I’ll be on vacation - thank you to everything that is right, just and holy), I hope I’m wrong about its direction. I want to think that this aggression is temporary and not part of a new era for Canada.
The last year-and-a-half has been hard on all of us and it has changed us in different ways. As we pulled through, day by day and week by week, we were at our best when we pulled together, not when we argued, and certainly not when we threw things at one another.