Saturday, August 8, 2015 was the NDP’s National Day of Action, and I joined the Chilliwack contingent that morning in the Safeway parking lot. Only fifteen or so were present, and most seemed to know what they were doing. Seonaigh MacPherson, our candidate, said hello and took a moment to chat. She has a relaxed, direct demeanour, and I liked her very much.
After some initial paperwork, the team went out canvassing. I was put with two experienced men, and we drove a few blocks to a neighbourhood of detached houses with well-tended grounds.
It was around ten thirty. Cars were in the driveways, but of the first four houses, not one person came to the door. Chilliwack is often described as a Conservative bastion, and it’s possible the residents avoided us on purpose. However nothing shook these NDlP canvassers’ basic enjoyment of the morning or shook their positive attitude. Both have roots in the community.
Pete Butcher, president of the postal workers local, is caught up with the problems caused by the introduction of community mail boxes. A morning canvassing seemed a welcome change.
Sean, a manager in an auto body shop, has a deep concern for children with disabilities. We agree that all children deserve the chance to fulfill their potential, and those with special needs can bring the greatest gifts.
One of the most alarming things about the Harper government has been heavy emphasis on resource extraction, especially oil, and a lack of regard for Canada’s human capital. The price of oil stayed high for years; workers in the industry made good money, and there were numerous editorials in praise of this approach. Few pointed out that countries throughout Latin America, Africa and much of Asia follow a similar strategy, because they’re part of the undeveloped world and have limited options.
Today the inevitable has occurred: the resource cycle has turned downward, and Harper economics is exposed as a one-horse plan.
The canvassers keep things light; there’s no time for getting into arguments. One main emphasis is just reminding people that an election is coming out, and it’s important to get out and vote.
Once we got past the first four houses, people began to answer the door. Quite a few are committed NDP voters. Many remain undecided about which party to choose, but over and over, people agreed that it is time for a change.