Saturday, May 3, 2008

And so it slowly comes

And so it slowly comes, the electoral behemoth, the public relations part of the warm-up exercise as the candidates roam the hills and dales of the riding, meeting and greeting everyone they can, fund raising, smiling for the cameras, foot-slogging and phone logging and blogging and grogging and trusting their spouses to keep the home fires burning and safe.
All things considered, Guelph has produced a handful of high grade candidates.

While I think Gloria Kovach's cutesy pose on the cover of the Trib says everything I need to know about why not to vote for her (never mind her party's Bush League Republican repudiation of Canadian Progressive Conservativism) she does have some serious municipal chops and a well-oiled personal election team that doesn't need a united Conservative Party to do her proud. I'm hoping the Red Tories and Orangemen desert Huck Farper and his American oil idealogues and don't give him or her their votes and we can chuck the whole lot.

Liberal Frank Valeriote has deep pockets of both money and community service goodwill to draw upon,and as well as an amiable appeal to the left and right sides of the centre, so it is quite possible he could keep the riding Liberal. One thing his candidacy didn't do was split the local party. And yes the Valeriotes are from |San Giorgio Morgeto, and no, they don't appear in my books as bad guys.

Tom King has considerable stature in the country and in the progressive circles of Guelph, so he could pull votes from everywhere if he starts telling a story about a Canada that we've never quite been able to articulate to ourselves but have aways had on the tips of our tongues and in the wellsprings of our best intentions.

Mike Nagy is a whole other matter. The environment critic for the Green Party (surely no other party than the Greens has as many well-informed environment critics in their membership, let alone in their ghost cabinet.) Mike isn't flashy, he's a tough-minded, genial guy who's done his homework and is a fountain of fascinating facts and best-practice policy ideals. We could a lot worse. His best hope however is for the disenfranchised Progressives to realize that their home is with the Greens, because King and Valeriote are going to take a lot of the centre, leaving Gloria alone in the right wing wilderness.

What makes the riding difficult to call for me aren't the candidates but the electorate, it's where they are in the tipping point of things, how many are ready to face the future, how many are keeping their rose-coloured glasses on; whether the Red Tories and Orangemen are willing to defend the commons before the Republican Reform-a-Tories charter its bounty to their privateering friends.

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