Madhunt Publishing
7 Church Street South
Alliston, Ontario

Madhunt Publishing Company
founded March 22, 1999.

New Tecumseth Free Press Online
First Posted April 30, 1999

To email: Tony Veltri .

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'I understand party loyalty but only to an extent'

Posted March 13, 2019

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 legislature.

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 backward.

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

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