Election Fever

October 25th, 2010 by Emma Durand-Wood

Normally I don’t take much of a political stand here on WoMH, but a few flyers that have recently landed in my mailbox prompted me to write a few thoughts on this year’s civic election. I think elections generally bring out the extremes in a city: candidates range from the incredibly popular to the incredibly strange, and campaign tactics range from professional and thoughtful to tacky, sloppy, and well, sort of pathetic. The candidates in my riding (Elmwood/EK and WSD Ward 3) seem to run the gamut.  What I really take issue with is how very few of them have bothered trying to reach voters through the internet and social media. The way I see it, a website is the bare minimum, but many of them have seemingly made zero effort towards informing the electorate of their platforms.

Of the five candidates running for school trustee in my riding, only one has a website. Fortunately, it’s polished and professional. Although I haven’t seen any lawn signs or flyers for this candidate, her effort in developing and maintaining this website speaks volumes to me. On the other hand, I received in my mailbox today a slip of orange paper promoting incumbent Suzanne Hrynyk, with the following text:

Re-Elect Suzanne Hrynyk

First on the ballot!

School Trustee  WSD Ward 3

October 27

You vote at:

[School name & address, hours]

The text is followed by the NDP logo. What does this tell me about this candidate? Absolutely nothing, except that she wants you to vote for her by remembering that she is first on the ballot. Unbelievable! I got another flyer in the mail for incumbent Mike Babinsky. It is written as a letter to voters from his son, explaining why we should vote for “my Dad”. It includes cheesy photos of the son, at different ages, wearing a campaign hat. And oh yeah, the text is in one of those kids’ handwriting fonts. Need I say more?

Visiting campaign websites and reading through questionnaire answers on Winnipeg Election and the Freep websites, I find it appalling how many grammatical and spelling mistakes many of the candidates make. I also got a flyer where the election date must have been printed incorrectly, because it had been whited out, with the correct date written in pen over top. And don’t get me started on the headshots — you want to be a councillor or trustee in one of the largest cities in Canada, but you can’t be bothered to put on a shirt and tie and head down to Sears for a $20 portrait session?

As for our mayoral candidates, who knows what’s motivating Brad Gross, who hasn’t bothered to actually put content in three quarters of his hilarious real estate template website, and Rav Gill, whose site states “Nothing is more empowering then voting”. (Personally, I think nothing is more empowering than a mayor who knows how to use “then” and “than” properly.) Whether they are actually serious about becoming mayor or just looking to boost their name recognition to improve their real estate businesses, neither of them is running a campaign I’d expect of a mayoral hopeful. Fortunately neither really has a chance of winning.

I still haven’t decided who I’m voting for on Wednesday, but it’s sure easy to decide who I’m not voting for. It’s a pity that’s how elections go.

4 Responses to “Election Fever”

  1. Meghan says:

    Unfortunately, you’ve hit on one of the enduring truths of elections and voting in Manitoba- we so very seldom vote for a candidate. Instead, we spend time and energy trying to vote AGAINST one.

    Even our front-running mayoral candidates seem to have fallen into this trap. Note how Sam Katz has positioned himself as “not-Judy”, while Judy Wasylycia-Leis has positioned herself as “not-Sam”.

    Imagine what a civic election would look like if candidates talked about what they would do, instead of why they’re not the other guy.

  2. Doug says:

    A couple weeks ago, Gord Steeves came to my door to deliver a flyer to me. Actually, I should say that he zipped up my walk, dumped a flyer in my mailbox and immediately turned around to do the same thing at my neighbour’s house. When I opened the door, he had his back turned and was halfway down my walk again. He turned when he noticed someone was actually home and remarked he didn’t catch a lot of people at home during the day (it just so happens I was working from home at the time). So, he said he’s campaigning for city councillor and hopes he can depend on my support, blah blah blah. And then I asked him what issues he hopes to tackle if he gets re-elected. And he said “well, I don’t think there are any issues, really. I guess we’ll see if there’s an issue on election day!” Hardee har har, Gord. You just lost my vote. I know that your competition for city councillor may not have a chance, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t at least try to win me over. Weak.

  3. Emma says:

    Thanks for your comments, guys! Well, I guess Gord was right. No issue on election day.

  4. Suzanne Hrynyk says:

    I wanted to share some additional information to the posts above. Unfortunately, the creator of this blog did not see my first pamphlet which provides all of my biographical information and reasons to re-elect me. The second item was merely a reminder slip. My husband and I personally delivered over 20,000 pamphlets to Ward 3 in the Winnipeg School Division.
    Thank you to all who supported me in my re-election. If anyone has any concerns I can be reached at 452-3847.

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