Sunday, November 23, 2014


Years ago I worked with a woman who had immigrated to Canada from the Philippines where she had lived during the Marcos regime. She told me that the one thing she was really looking forward to as a newly sworn in Canadian citizen was getting to freely, privately and safely vote in an election. "Have you ever had an AK47 pointed at you when you were in a voting booth?" she asked me. She shared with me that she had not ever once gotten to vote freely and unencumbered in an election. "It is a basic privilege of democracy that I look forward to." she told me. I have never forgotten what she shared with me that day. Since that time I have not ever, not even once, ever missed an opportunity to cast my vote in any election. Not federal, not provincial and especially not municipally.

I always cringe when I hear people say "Vote? Oh I can't be bothered. What's the point especially municipally." Voter turnout for local elections is a mere 35% of the eligible voting public compared to the 50+% for provincial & federal elections. Part of me is greatly saddened by this fact because when you think about it our local government is the most grassroots, the most accessible and the closest to home governance we live with on a day to day basis. I struggle with the apathy of those numbers for the privilege to responsibly elect our local representation. I abhor the chatter of those who chose to say silly things such as "what's the point...." or "why bother...." or "it's just our local council, who cares...." Well I care.

I care about recycling and composting programs. I care about protecting the water that flows from the top of the Headwaters that eventually ends up in Lake Ontario and ultimately out my kitchen tap. I care that there are books to borrow from the public library. I care that there is supportive housing for seniors and those impacted by disabilities. I care that the snowploughs safely clear Highway 50. I care that there is a large beautiful green space where fireworks can be shot off on Canada Day. I care that I live in a region that wants to invest for resilience. I care about community safety, policing, the fire department and about the animal shelter out on Coleraine Road. I care that there are pools to splash in, rinks to skate on and infields to slide in to homeplate at. I care that we are a community that has heritage and history. I care that Bolton is home to one of the oldest Agricultural fairgrounds in North America. I care that Caledon is a place where the Niagara Escarpment meets the Oak Ridges Moraine. I care that I have a local government that made it very clear that protecting the ground we live on against relentless and uncontrolled growth and ruthless developers is a priority. I care because Caledon is my home.

I know that there are some people out there who think what I prattle on about here is negative and downright mean. To those people I would say this. What I am trying to get you to do is to think. Think about this community. Think about the fundamental values of this place we call home. Ask questions. Ask hard questions. Keep my tongue in cheek rhetoric in its perspective. I'm prodding you, or in some cases, just plainly poking the stick through the fence at you, if at least just to get some sort of reaction. I'm checking to see if you have a pulse. Apathy is a terrible illness that will suck the life right out of a community and this shows up more during municipal elections than at any other time during our electoral process. Closest to home, yet furthest from our heart. This is a logic that I have struggled to understand. It's a terrible malady to realize that no vote is in fact a vote. Of course one could just prescribe to the tenet, if you don't vote then your forfeit your right to complain about your governance.

On Monday, October 25th our community will go to the polls to elect a four year term council. Four years, eight councillors and a mayor, who will represent us in what I believe will be one of the most important four years for Caledon in its history. There will be no AK47s pointed at anyone as we the people get to exercise our fundamental right to democracy and to freely chose those who represent us. Choose wisely but more importantly, choose.

Happy belated Canada Day.


  1. Christine, your "I care" paragraph reminded me of the "I am Canadian" video. And, just like the video, it gave me goosebumps - the good kind, the kind you get from feeling proud. We have so much to be grateful for in our community. Like you, I believe that this fall's municipal election may be the most crucial that Caledon has faced. Voter turnout will be vital so we have a strong voice in how our community's future is shaped. Be heard, vote.

  2. Thanks Patti, I appreciate knowing that you enjoyed my personal reflections about what I really care about in Caledon.

    Let's hope the apathy can subside a bit for this coming election. These are important and changing times for Caledon and more now than ever it is important to elect responsible, effective and positive leadership.

  3. You both make excellent points, Christine. Voting for a candidate based on illusions and appearance rather than substance, skill and ability is irresponsible and a perfect example of apathy. For example, I recently received an exploitative, discreetly sexual election photo of a candidate and her two children. She has not only mailed this exploitative photo of her innocent children to hundreds of households, but has it available to anybody entering specific establishments in Caledon. Besides demonstrating the “compassion, sensibility, honesty and integrity of a gnat”, my research into this candidate indicates she lacks the skill and ability necessary for this position, and is already in way over her head. Unfortunately, the desire for perception of power and fame does drive some people. As a result, placing my vote behind a candidate like this would be wrong, and a perfect example of apathy, or absence of concern. I cannot stress how crucial it is that we research our candidates prior to deciding who will earn our vote. Voting for a candidate based on a photo of his/her family, for example, is NOT good reason to vote for him/her. Know your candidate, question what he/she is telling you, including credentials, and for goodness sake, don’t vote for the sake of voting! Caledon deserves it!

  4. Hey Caledon Matters....

    Excellent post! Thank you for reinforcing the message about knowing your candidate. Know them. Understand what the REAL issues are and as I said ask the hard questions. Don't be misled by pretty brochures, airbrushed photographs and the buzz word terminology that so many candidates are lobbing around like a tennis ball. Make your vote worth something. Make it count.

    When I was involved in politics I made it very clear right from the onset that my minor aged child would not ever appear in any of my political materials and she never did. As adults, if we choose to be involved in politics, we do so by our own choice. Putting your childrens faces out there is just plain stupid and putting your children at risk. It is pure exploitation. The world is filled with a lot of not very nice people and the last thing I'd do is to put my child's face into the hands of people that I do not know. We are very much on the same page with this sentiment.

    As for the photograph you are referring to, I've seen it. This is Amanda Squire with her children, splayed on a bed together. While this is a beautiful family picture it belongs in her home and most definitely not in her campaign material. Then again you can't be surprised by these tactics, trying to grab the "motherhood" vote even at the cost of her children's safety. This speaks volumes to her values or rather lack of them. I think it is time for Ms. Squire to give it up and withdraw from this race. She has more than shown us some very unscrupulous behaviour. I very much doubt though that she will throw in the proverbial towel. It'd be a really dark day for this community to have her out on Old Church Road representing Bolton.

  5. Way to go Girl! You say it like it is and it needs to be said! When you think about how many people around the world have guns pointed at them or live in fear of retribution if they go to vote, it makes me shake my head when I hear how much citizens in free and democratic countries take this right for granted. Imagine if we were to take that vote away what they would say. My advice to you...poke away!!!

  6. Thanks Di. Always nice to see a post from someone totally new. I'll do my best to keep up the poking :) Keep on reading and by all means, keep on posting your comments. I continually am surprised by the amount of email messages I get from people who tell me they've just discovered the blog and have really enjoyed reading. Like I said before....sometimes you just gotta say it like it is.

    Be well.
    Respectfully, Christine