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
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.