New Tecumseth Free Press Online welcomes
and reads letters to the editor reflecting the diverse views of all readers.
Letters on timely subjects of broad interest
will be published. Letters may be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity.
We do not publish poetry, third-party or
anonymous letters, or those signed with a pseudonym. We will however post
letters without a name if warranted.
For verification purposes, your address
and daytime telephone number are required, although we do not publish them.
We do not include the writer's email address,
unless requested to do so.
'I understand party loyalty but only to an extent'
I have been part of this community for more than
three decades. This is my home. I love living here. The move from
Toronto to this community in 1983 came with quite a few surprises.
At that time, no one had heard of pita bread which was my first
surprise; there were two sets of traffic lights; no public transit. If
the cobbler was on vacation there was not another one you could go to.
That was true of everything.
I lived in a part of Toronto which featured at least 10 fruit and
veggie stores in four blocks, at least four butchers, a store that only
sold cheese, another one that only sold tea. No such choices existed in
Alliston and not much has changed. But, I remember fondly the small
town charm of the old Circle Theatre, run by a man who would suddenly,
without a word, dash upstairs to go run the projector while you were
trying to buy a ticket. I remain grateful to the VanderZaags who kept
it going when the previous proprietor passed away.
The biggest difference between my two homes turned out to be political.
In Toronto there are not very many safe seats. Just about any riding is
up for grabs come election time by any of the three main parties. Here,
if you are a Conservative candidate you have a job for life. You can
show up for debates, not too taxing since there are only about three of
them during the election cycle and you can mail out a brochure.
You won't have to pound the pavement canvassing as many neighbourhoods
as you can in a very large riding, no need for volunteers to work the
phones and get out the vote. Your nearest rival won't even come close.
You are guaranteed a seat in either the provincial or federal
After so many years I have gotten to know my neighbours and count many
as good friends. We don't talk politics. These neighbours would be the
first at your door if you ever needed any help. When one member of the
old Conservative community passes away, you better count on standing in
line for at least two hours to offer your condolences. Everyone seems
to know everyone else here. I have learned most members of the
Conservative community have lived in this area for generations and each
generation after another vote nothing but Conservative. That vote is
rock solid. I have developed the theory that if you painted a turnip
blue it would win the election in Simcoe Grey.
I understand party loyalty but only to an extent. If the party I
usually waste my vote on offered up a candidate clearly unfit for
office, I would not vote for him or her. Or supposing a rival party had
a candidate that was clearly superior to my usual party then I would
vote for that person. I do not understand the unchanging, rigid loyalty
to just one party even when that party is led by a man who has no
knowledge, no curiosity to find out what he doesn't know, no experience
in legislative government, is brash, arrogant, pugnacious and seems to
want to take the province backward as far as the 1950's.
Oh but they love their local candidate, who's done so much for our
riding! "Like what?" I ask.
It is this gap between those who vote just the same as always and the
way I think we ought to discharge our civic duty that I have often
wondered about. At some level I think the difference lies in voting
with your heart and voting with your head. I always thought you should
weigh the platforms, consider costs, think about what our community and
our province or country needs for the future. I look forward, not
I can buy pita bread in Alliston now. The local grocery stores carry
"international foods". We have Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mexican and
Greek food and almost as many restaurants as a local neighbourhood in
Toronto. Though I miss all the variety and all the choices Toronto
offers I do not miss the traffic or the noise. I have long ago accepted
the cold reality that this riding will vote Conservative for many years
still in the foreseeable future. However, the demographics are changing
as people move north from Toronto into new subdivisions. If you''re not
a Conservative you have to be an optimist and for years to come I will
continue wasting my vote and hoping for change.
Barbara Delargy is a
retired English teacher currently living near Everett