I have been fortunate that in Provincial elections I have a part of; the campaigning has been respectful while working to get our platforms and ‘attacks’ out there. I have to thank Yasir Naqvi, Kevin O’Donnell, Anil Naidoo and Jennifer McKenzie for having the same interest that I had to keep the demeanor of the campaign politely aggressive.
In the past couple of weeks I have seen and read instances of less than respectful outbursts directed to some candidate’s opposition. This troubles me and makes me wonder if we aren’t electing the wrong people in key roles in the city. The most recent examples come from our sitting Mayor running for re-election. Barbs directed at his opponent’s ideas in debates made me wonder why we allow this behavior to go undetected. These comments are not funny, though some supporters of the candidates spewing the remarks may find them funny – it is disrespectful of the target to which they are directed. You don’t have to believe in their politics or platforms, but does one feel so threatened that snide asides are needed to rebut them?
I have the same thoughts for candidates that use social media as a way to insult and attack those they are running against. I wonder if those candidates stating those comments on Facebook or Twitter will also say the same things in person during a debate or while standing at a voter’s front door trying to win their vote.
Last week there was a debate in #SomersetWard, where 9 of the 11 candidates shared their views on multiple issues. I was very pleased that all 9 did not resort to personality attacks and stuck for the most part to the questions and issues. The message from the 9 I heard was mudslinging was not going to be a part of the debate. In Somerset we are blessed to have principled candidates running. (You can read a previous post where I endorse Thomas McVeigh for Councillor in Somerset Ward here www.blog.robertdekker.ca).
There is also another campaign being waged, the Ontario PC Leadership race. I have been clear to people, who are supporting different leadership hopefuls that I do not want to see the knives come out against a person because of their beliefs. The Leadership race is about ideas and who will be best suited to lead us (Ontario PC’s) to government. What I am hoping for is that we as PC’s can rally behind the one person after the ballots have been counted and tabulated. Cuts from the throwing knives do not heal well and if they can’t how will we as a party ever unite and form government in Ontario?
With less than a month to go in the Ottawa Municipal Elections, I say as a referee might before a boxing bout to the all involved, “keep it clean everyone” and “keep the punches above the belt”. If they don’t, I hope voters will use it as a way to evaluate if someone is ‘fit’ to represent them at council and in the community. How a person treats their opponents or enemies can be a window to their soul.
It really does come down to the golden rule, ‘if you can’t say something nice about a person – don’t say anything at all’.
I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.
I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.