Monday, October 13, 2008
Why I Support Garth Turner
I am one of those left-wing types who has always swung somewhere between the NDP and the Liberals - with the occasional flirtation with bone fide socialism - for most of my adult life. So, WTF am I doing hanging around with a couple of ex-Progressive Conservatives like Garth Turner and Esther Shaye?
One word: DEMOCRACY.
It was two and a half years ago that I attended my first Garth Turner Town Hall Meeting. I was exceedingly sceptical going in, but after listening to Garth and meeting Esther Shaye, his constituency office manager and current campaign manager, I started to believe.
Since then, I have gotten to know Garth a bit better and Esther quite well, and to a lesser extent I have come to know many of those who stuck with Garth on his voyage from PC to Conservative to Independent to Liberal. And though I may disagree with some of them on specific policy matters, I can tell you this:
They are the REAL DEAL.
They believe in Canada, and they believe in Government as the instrument of the people of Canada. They believe that politicians are there to represent their constituents and not their party. They believe that they are there to serve our interests, not their own. They know Stephen Harper and his associates better than any of us would ever care to, and that experience has inspired all of them to do everything in their power to drive the lot of them out of Canadian politics forever.
Garth Turner is, to a large extent, everything you've heard. Opinionated. Self-aggrandizing. In love with the sound of his own voice. And on a fairly regular basis he lets his mouth (or his blog) get ahead of his brain.
Garth Turner is also the only MP I have ever had who has ever answered a direct question from me, or adjusted his perspective based on what I had to say. He is a fiscal conservative, but after some soul searching he has come to honestly support Dion's Green Shift and to embrace the notion that the rich hold some obligation to the poor. He's all about the tax cuts, but he totally gets why I went to Montebello to protest a year ago. I smack him regularly on issues like Senate reform, but I still hold out hope that some day Betty and I will wear him down.
When I listen to Garth Turner, I know that I am hearing what he thinks and not just what his party tells him to think. More importantly, when I speak to Garth, I know that he is actually listening to me and not just thinking up some way to convince me that I'm wrong.
A year and a half ago I had no interest in involving myself in the minutia of riding-level politics. This long weekend, I will be forgoing Thanksgiving turkey with the 'rents in favour of campaign activities as I somehow find myself responsible for the recruitment and training of 40+ election day scrutineers.
Three weeks ago, I couldn’t even spell scrutineer, let alone tell you what one did.
This is democracy. This is what it should be. This is what you should demand from yourself and from your own MP.
Me? I’m lucky enough to live in Halton.