Last night, a representative from Ray Martin's campaign doorknocked my house, for the second time. The volunteer had a long conversation with my husband and told him that it was now a "two horse race" between Ray and Heather, according to the polling. When pressed, he admitted that this was polling done by the NDs and that I polled third. The representative informed my husband that they are going to every house with a Sue Huff sign (ours has three!) and letting them know that Ray is the one to back and that I don't really have a chance. Another friend in the neighbourhood confirmed that he had also been approached and informed by the volunteer that people are taking my signs because I'm a "nice person" but that they are all secretly voting for Ray. This is all a little hard to take, because- to be blunt- it's just not true. This is difficult for me because I have consciously avoided speaking negatively about other candidates, but when misinformation and fear is being spread about, I really feel that it is time for me to speak up.
Let me take each piece one at a time:
As you probably know, the Alberta Party has not done any polling, and to be honest, most people seem to appreciate that fact: many people have told me how irritated they are with "all the phonecalls." I've heard people say they lie when asked who they will vote for, hang up or simply refuse to pick up when the call display shows a number they don't recognise. So, I think we need to take polls with a huge grain of salt. Instead, I rely on something more direct and I think more accurate: face to face encounters with thousands of Edmonton-Glenora residents over the past seven months of door-knocking. I can say, with confidence, that there is not another candidate in Edmonton-Glenora who has spent more time on the doorstep than me. What I've heard: people are torn, they are undecided, they are unhappy with the PCs, they are considering voting differently this time (often for the first time in their lives!). People want real change, meaningful change and they are tired of "old style" politics. Some voters identify as PC supporters, some identify as ardent ND supporters, a few are considering the Wildrose and some are defiantly Liberal; but most are undecided. I would suggest that this race is "too close to call" as one PC insider put it and that given the unpredictability of this election, we are likely to see increased voter turnout and many people deciding "on the day." Many are coming to the forums as a way to help them decide and are very appreciative of my invitiation to attend as none of the other candidates seem to be promoting them.
TAKING A SIGN BECAUSE SUE IS NICE
This is ludicrous! Almost every Sue Huff sign is there because I spoke with the person at length about our aims to change the way politics is done and, after careful consideration, the voter has decided to take a leap of faith with me. They trust me. They know I have been a long-time community servant and that no one will work harder for this community. They are impressed that I have dedicated 10 months of my life to this campaign, without pay, because I believe so strongly that politics must change. I AM a nice person (and I think we need more nice people in politics!), but to reduce this exchange to an act of pity or charity to completely undervalue the intelligence and thoughtfulness of my supporters and the electorate in Edmonton-Glenora.
ANYONE BUT THE PCs
Many opposition candidates fall into the trap of trying to convince the electorate they are the "best shot" at defeating the PCs. They use fear tactics to try and convince people to move away from voting for the person they truly want in the job. Change Alberta is also feeding this view. I simply don't agree. I've said it many times: if we all vote for the person we truly believe will do the best job of serving our community and representing our community, the right person will be successful. Trust your neighbours to make an informed decision as they will trust you to do the same. Accept that democracy is not something you (or anyone else) should try to manipulate through strategic voting. You can't possibly know what everyone in Edmonton-Glenora is thinking. I've been listening for seven months and I still don't have a clear picture.
To me, this means following the rules, treating everyone with respect, and not giving in to the baser desires to win at all cost. The NDP Camp has lost their ethical compass. This is evidenced in the sudden proliferation of illegally-placed Ray Martin signs (around traffice cirlce on 142 St and 107 Ave. Outside the Returning Officer's Office where advance polling will happen) and the aggressive tone and tactics undertaken by their campaign. While I respect Ray Martin as a person, I feel that investing time in actively trying to discredit me and my campaign, rather than promiting himself as the best choice for Edmonton-Glenora and reaching out to undecided voters, is unhealthy and destructive, and a waste of energy on the campaign trail.
We have come this far, with respect, let's not stumble in the final week. I encourage all candidates to finish this race in a way that would make their families proud. If we win the race and lose our soul, we've not really won at all!