Thank you to the Voters of Ottawa West-Nepean
A Message from Mark MacKenzie, Federal Candidate
I wanted to take a moment to thank the many volunteers, supporters and voters that I had the honour to work with or to meet during this past election campaign. I found that many people were not aware at all of what the Green Party was really about. It was a tremendous experience to be able to enlighten thousands of voters who will take that into consideration in their future decisions.
Many that I spoke to at the door and on the street agreed that our democracy needs to be seriously improved. In order for the issues that matter most for people to truly be addressed, people need to be able to be actively involved in their own governance. Clearly, most people feel powerless to do anything about that and will continue to feel victimized by the current power structures.
This was indeed an odd election. The Orange Wave that swept through Quebec and saw the decimation of the Bloq Quebecois stands like a book end from the equally bizarre 1993 election which saw the rise of the Bloq all the way to official opposition after having just recently been formed as a party.
In this riding, I certainly talked to a number of life-long Liberals, Conservatives and NDP supporters, but the amount of undecided voters is clearly a growing group. I also ran into a growing Green base.
Of the undecided, there was mostly two camps. One group wanted the end of bickering and were voting Conservative to give them a majority. They didn't much care about procedural wrangling about contempt of Parliament or what Bev Oda did because quite frankly, the Liberals were just as bad. The other group wanted to get rid of the incumbent and/or the Conservatives.
The smallest group to me seemed to be those that were actually concerned about the issues. When there is too much wrapped up into one single solitary 'X', the issues do in fact get shoved to the back while many people concentrate on the national picture, the personalities of the leaders, or how to vote against somebody. Rightly or wrongly, these are the sorts of decisions that are made on election day.
The Conservatives have a tall order. No excuses for the record deficits now. The Conservatives did their obligatory tax cut (GST) for their base which they touted heavily in their commercials. The disturbing part of this is how they just borrowed this tax cut many times over on the other end, and the public seemingly had no intention to bring them to account on this. The myth that the Conservatives are good economic managers will soon come crashing down as they continue to invest in oil and into yesterday's economy. Where is all of this oil money going? Not back to us.
Unfortunately with the current electoral system, you only need less than 1 in 4 eligible voters to vote for you in order to achieve absolute power. The Liberals were never in favour of electoral reform. Will they be now? It will also be interesting to see if the Conservatives carry through on the promise of an elected Senate. John Baird made reference to this in the only debate for the riding. No excuses now.
I did notice that at the door, the Conservative base had a hard time looking me in the eye this time. They knew deep down that their party had become the very Liberals that they had detested for years for coveting and abusing power. The Conservatives had become Liberals in the sense that they would do anything, say anything and pay anything (with our money mostly) to keep themselves in control. But the Conservative base is forgiving and downright blind at times. The public seems to have bought enough of the rhetoric that the Conservatives were the best at handling the economy, even though we survived the global financial meltdown better than other countries due to factors that had nothing to do with Conservative governance.
Clearly the Green Party took a major step forward as it elected its first MP and I was happy to have called through a poll in Saanich Gulf Islands earlier in the year to help identify the Green support.
The exclusion of Elizabeth May and the Green Party from the debates was a low point for democracy. It's not just that this decision was in the hands of private companies, but that these companies seemed to care little that they damaged the Green Party by waiting until after the writ had dropped to announce their decision. Power in this country is held by an exclusive and small club. We have crashed their elite party and they will not be taking kindly to that.
In the absence of better information as to what we are actually about, we lost some of our votes from previous elections. Those four men were very lucky that Elizabeth May was not there at the debates holding them all to account for decisions that they had all made in the previous Parliament, and espousing our passion for a more inclusive democracy.
Since the fundamentals of our democracy, our economy and our society in general are still in peril, the Green Party nationwide will see a bounce in the very near future. As the price of gasoline continues to rise, even as the price of a barrel of oil drops, I hope that people remember that it was the Green Party that had the best plan for reducing our dependence on that commodity.
What turned out to be a colossal failure in this election was the attempt to get everybody to vote Liberal to try to 'stop John Baird'. People who organize these sorts of things should really take the time to knock on doors and actually talk to people. Had they done that, they would have seen just how many people in this riding, and I'm sure across the country, will never vote Liberal again because of all of the abuses of power over the years. Some people went ahead and held their nose and voted for the Liberal because it was the lesser of two bad choices as far as potentially governing parties were concerned. In the long term, we need a fairer electoral system and this will have to involve proportional representation.
But mostly I want to thank the many voters of Ottawa West-Nepean who took the time to have a look for the first time as to what we at the Green Party are all about. I know that we are a credible choice now for many voters and our time will come. I was encouraged by a strong group of dedicated supporters who have come to believe that the balance of fiscal responsibility, social progressiveness and ecological wisdom embodied by the Green Party is the only sensible way to move forward.
We will continue to keep in touch and we welcome all feedback and participation at the local level.
Candidate of Record, Green Party of Canada