Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Civic Minded

The signs have been everywhere along the side of the road and on the front lawns of neighbors who don't mind sharing their political convictions- its municipal election time here in Ontario.

It is a miracle that both my husband and I escaped our childhood homes without the slightest interest in all things political. 

On the slightest provocation, my mother was always willing to engage in a dissection of federal politics, with the unbiased opinion of a confirmed liberal. 

Similarly, my in-laws whose political persuasions leaned in a direction diametrically to my mother's, actively participated in federal politics. I remember clearly the nightly pleasure they took in celebrating the latest conservative triumphs and heckling any "liberal" misdeeds reported on late night television newscasts. 

Needless to say, putting our two sets of parents together in one room was definitely a case of oil and water. While my husband's parents were always gracious, the strength of my mothers liberal convictions made her inhospitable, almost to the point of rudeness. 

I know that I should be grateful to live in a country, where I can freely cast a vote and I truly am. 

And I know it is my civic duty to vote, but I have to say that, when it comes to local politics, it is hard to come to a informed decision as to where to cast a vote.

Lets see...I can think back to the self-congratulatory newsletter sent out by the incumbent councillors. Hmm...not much help there.

There has been very few knocks on our front door by politicians offering a fresh alternative to the incumbents.

I have noted a new phenomena this election, the pre-recorded phone message urging me to vote for the person rambling on the other end. These calls always seems to come at the most inopportune time and annoy me rather than impress me.

Perhaps I should consult the signs posted all over the neighborhood....

I have never completely understood the rational behind the roadside vote-for-me sign. 

Local, grassroots politics has limited coverage in mainstream television and radio, leaving politicians desperate to get their name before the voting public. I get that, but I question how these signs are to aid me in coming to a decision as to where to place my X on election day. 

Am I to choose the politician who has the sign with the color or typeface I like best? 

Am I to be swayed by the politician with the biggest sign? 

The more expensive sign that has a snapshot incorporated into the graphics?

In the end, there is very little to discover in a sign, but a last name. What does that name tell me, besides a possible indication of ethnic background? Come election day, I find nothing in this visual clutter at to aid me my decision.

The whole subject of local politics just makes my head hurt and in that, I am sure I am not alone. Is it any wonder that voter turn out is often less than 50%.

And so it was on election day this past Monday, I found myself scrambling to come to a last minute decision.

In Brampton, Mayor Susan Fennell was returned for another term with a comfortable majority. Our local regional councillor and city councillor are likewise unchanged.

For some reason, we tend to think of local politicians as less important than their federal and provincial counterparts, but in reality, the decisions they make can have just as big of an impact on our daily lives.

All the images in this post are of the "Dixie Parkette" and are paid for by the good people in the city of Brampton, who pay one of the highest rates of municipal taxes in the country. Aren't they pretty?


  1. Jennifer, we are going through this now also with Illinois state elections and our local village vote for a sales tax increase to fix the roads. I voted early but the actual numbers will not be available until after November 2.


  2. I must say, we do have lots of pretty parks and greenspaces here in Brampton ~ not such a bad way to spend some of our tax $$$$$! I watched one of the local Mayoral Debates and that made my decision fairly easy! And here's a good one ~ I work for a very large union where we tend to lean to the left ~ and the staff & members are provided with a list of "Labour Endorsed Candidates" to assist us on election day! O'Canada! Hope you have a great day ~ the sun is shining!

  3. I always laugh when I see all those political signs everywhere! Do people even read them. I love your sedum, it's so lush! We are growing sedum too, but it doesn't look like that!

  4. I found this post as I sit here in the US on midterm election night. Your observations are so universal! Especially about the signs. Thankfully I had your lovely photos to look at as I read your dilemma and frustration of making sense of elections. It's the same, (only worse!) here. Now back to the returns on TV... ugh.


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