I’m often labeled with the nickname, “The Old Geezer.” That’s partly because I’m old and I really don’t know what a Geezer is, so I live with it. One thing I do know is that I have enough gray matter left to realize that democracy works…only if folks participate.
People jump in and become volunteers for a multitude of reasons and there are enough different tasks that need doing for every level of participation and talent.
I met individuals with a special issue they wanted to campaign about. Like the lady who worried that the “lefties” would ruin our economy, so she couldn’t stay away. At every opportunity during the entire campaign she talked about Ireland, (she has relatives over there) and how people had followed a socialist program into financial ruin.
Another man was angry about gas prices and he couldn’t fathom anyone adding more taxes and shutting down the oil sands. He did acknowledge that gas prices are a provincial power, but that didn’t stop him from arguing that Canada needs the oil sands and lower gas taxes.
We had some folks volunteer because their friends brought them in and they enjoyed the work and the adventure of doing something different.
A great many of the people I worked with came because they liked the man, Ron Cannan. The level of personal commitment was both amazing and enlightening. It’s not often that an individual attracts such a solid personal commitment from so many people. From listening to the many humbling personal stories I can understand their reasons.
We did of course have many folks volunteer because of their passion for the political cause. It was from this group I saw the most articulate individuals. They appeared to posess huge amounts of knowledge about how different political parties favoured different policies.
When I discussed the reasons with these folks many admitted that they started volunteering for specific reasons and then learned and grew into supporters over time.
We had more than forty people volunteer to work for and support Ron Cannan. I don’t know if that’s the norm or not. I do acknowledge that for whatever reason, these volunteers became active. I think the honest personal integrity of Ron Cannan was great motivator for them.
Finally, I saw a significant change in most volunteers toward a better understanding of themselves as they learned and adjusted to the political realities. A sort of mental health or attitude tune up as a result of their participation. They realized that they had made a difference to our community by participating.
As of this writing I have no idea how the election will turn out. I do know that all of the many people I met and worked with have made our democracy healthier and better because they became participants in Canada’s political process.
It has been my personal pleasure to have worked with a lot of very wonderful people. From the youngest at fourteen to the oldest at ninety two, they are all deserving Canadians. I sincerely thank them for making my life fuller and happier.