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the Toronto Centre by-election

We have a by-election coming up in my riding Toronto Centre, to replace the irreplaceable Bob Rae, one of the tragic figures of Canadian politics – if it hadn’t been for his cowardly party and the Ignatieff debacle, a thoughtful, intelligent, decent man might be Prime Minister, instead of the creep we have now. However, Rae has had lots to do anyway and doesn’t complain. Now, sadly, two very bright women are running against each other in this riding. We need them both to sit in Parliament, not to try to destroy the other in an election.

However, the NDP’s Linda McQuaig turned me off instantly when her first campaign literature declared, “The real enemy is the Liberal Party.” No, the Conservative Party is the enemy. But the Liberals are an impediment to you getting elected, Linda. She is running a negative campaign filled with personal attacks, so at the moment, I wouldn’t vote for her if you paid me.

Chrystia Freeland for the Libs, on the other hand, I don’t know much about yet. I’m waiting for the all candidates meeting. But a young NDP volunteer at my door and I had a great talk this afternoon; I told her I would vote for anyone who had a chance of getting rid of the loathsome Harper government. I think she was surprised to hear such vehemence on quiet Sackville Street. I also said I was furious at the Greens, who should fold themselves into the NDP instead of further splintering the vote on the left – and for what? Does the NDP not have a green platform? The Green party is the Ralph Nader of Canadian politics! The young canvasser, who was about 24, agreed 100%, which surprised me. She told me she had left the Greens to join the NDP because it was the responsible thing to do. She and I became instant friends, and then she went off to convert more Cabbagetowners.

I know, Russell Brand has a diatribe on YouTube about revolution, and how no one should vote because the system is corrupt and only about supporting corporations and nothing ever changes. And he’s right. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching; he’s articulate and angry. But I’m older than he, as was the man interviewing him, and am incapable of saying, Don’t vote. We must vote.

Yesterday, a cold wet dark day, I was going to go to a matinee of “Venus in Fur,” a smash hit at CanStag. I was going to go hear the American Pat Schneider, one of the best creative writing teachers, in the evening. I did neither; I worked and read. Winter is coming and hibernation is the key. Today was busy, though – two new things, a pilates class at the Y, and a free singing class at the Winchester St. Theatre. Very enjoyable and uplifting, both. And then off across town to hug my Booboo, who had a zombie gash on his forehead, as did his mama. They were going to go on the Zombie Walk yesterday, but they didn’t do anything either.

I’m reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed, a best-selling memoir about a woman who hits rock bottom and decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m only half way through and I’m utterly exhausted and my feet hurt.

This week’s “New Yorker” has a shocker – a story by David Sedaris about the suicide of his youngest sister earlier this year. He has written about Tiffany before, and it sounded as if she was more than a Sedaris eccentric, possibly mentally ill. His writing has a numb quality, no surprise – I wonder if he shouldn’t have waited before writing about this. But then, he automatically translates his life into story. I can relate.

Last week’s “New Yorker” was especially rich, including an article about the extraordinarily strong kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart, a reprint of a stunning Alice Munro story, and the best bit of writing about Israel and Palestine I’ve ever read. “Lydda, 1948” by Ari Shavit – a must read. With such wealth, not to mention the library and other books pouring in, it’s no wonder I don’t go out much.

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2 Responses to “the Toronto Centre by-election”

  1. Deborah says:

    "Now, sadly, two very bright women are running against each other in this riding. We need them both to sit in Parliament, not to try to destroy the other in an election."

    I couldn't agree more!

    And on another note, like you and David Sedaris I also translate my life into story. Somehow it seems to help …

  2. Beth says:

    Deborah, yes, stories do help – it's been proven scientifically, as I'm sure you know.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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