It took less than a day for the 2011 Federal Election to go negative, both on the national stage and in the City of Guelph. As the federal party leaders battered themselves back and forth over the issue of who likes the idea of a coalition and who doesn’t, there was something more sinister afoot in the Royal City. This reporter witnessed a bit of this negativity first hand on Sunday morning while walking downtown. The broken remains of a couple of signs for Conservative candidate Marty Burke were lying in the snow at the corner of Edinburgh and Paisley. Little did I know that this was merely the tip of the iceberg.
The Guelph Mercury reported Monday morning that there was a rash of sign vandalizing across Guelph last weekend. More than that, there was someone, or someones, harassing Burke's family on Sunday morning, ringing the door bell and knocking on the door before 3 am before peeling off in an unseen car when Burke's wife came to investigate. Heck of a way to start a campaign, especially one that already has overtones of bitterness and partisan disdain. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time election harassment has been this bad. In 2008, several houses with signs supporting Liberal Frank Valeriote were vandalized, and several cars on the street were also vandalized. I'm afraid to say that this probably won't be the last time we’ll hear about voter intimidation this election.
Return of the Third Party Gang
Last week in Guelph Beat, we looked at the candidates that are running for the four main parties in Guelph. But well-known Politicos will remember that in the 2008 election, 10 candidates in all were on the local ballot. The Guelph Mercury reached out to some of those so-called fringe parties and candidates to see if there was any news for 2010 and discovered that there would be some returning faces for round two. Karen Levenson of the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party, who finished with 73 votes in 2008 has said that she’ll be running again, as will Libertarian Philip Bender who placed a respectable sixth in 2008 with 159 votes. Independent John Turmel, a record holder for 72 elections contested and lost, said that he is interested in running again, but at press time was still deciding between his hometown Brantford and running in Guelph. There’d no news from other parties, but the final ballot won't be announced until after the close of nominations on Monday April 11th.
Guelph Musicians Helping with Quake Relief
If you’ve got nothing to do on Sunday, or if you do and are able to cancel it, head down to the Norfolk United Church for Raise the Sun: A Benefit Concert for Japan. “Following the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, members of the Guelph community have pulled together to organize a benefit event featuring a wide selection of our amazing and world-class local-area talent,” said a press release. “With overwhelming support from the local community, event organizers (Paul Clarkson, Ajay Heble, and Marie Zimmerman) have come together in the strong belief that music and artistic expression can create opportunities for hope and help to mobilize new communities of involvement.”
The show starts at 3 pm with contemporary dance and music by the Fall on Your Feet dance lab working with improvisational musicians such as Jane Bunnett, Matt Brubeck, Kevin Breit, Amadeo Ventura, Larry Cramer and Colin Couch. Improvised jazz by the Vertical Squirrels, dance by David Earle's famous company, and folk music by acclaimed singer-songwriter Tannis Slimmon will round out the performers on the ticket. Additionally, Nagata Shachu, a six-member ensemble who perform Japanese taiko drumming and music, will also be at the benefit, along with special guest Joy Kogawa, acclaimed author of the novel Obasan. All proceeds will go to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Foundation Earthquake Relief Fund, and all donations are guaranteed to go to the Japanese Red Cross and to infrastructure in Japan. For more information go to www.raisethesun.ca
Headline: For a bit of Election Fun
If you haven’t already, try CBC’s Vote Compass at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/votecompass/ It’s a ten minute quiz that asks for your position on several issues of national concern, and asks for your opinion on the national parties and their leaders. I took the Compass and apparently, my allegiances should be going to either the Green Party or the Bloc Quebecois. I eagerly wait for the Bloc candidate for Guelph to present himself or herself, and I look forward to engaging them over the issues. But seriously folks…
For up-to-date election stuff go to http://guelphpolitico.blogspot.com/