Things got rather heated on the federal election front in the Comox Valley last week, never more so than on Thursday, when Conservative leader Stephen Harper paid a visit to the Valley.
When word got out that Harper was coming, it quickly became evident this was not a public visit. He was here mostly as a show of support to his local candidates, and to beat his chest in front of a partisan Conservative crowd at a private function.
Protesters rallied in various locations in Courtenay and Campbell River, as well as in the area of the private function, at Coastal Black Estate Winery in Black Creek.
This is where it took a rather nasty, and not extremely well thought-out turn on social media.
Coastal Black’s Facebook page quickly filled with comments from people promising to boycott the winery for its show of support towards the Conservative party.
People got emotional, and when that happens, often things are said before logic has stepped in to calm the waters.
Now, I have no doubt that the choice for this rally was not by chance.
It’s not a stretch to accept that the Conservative leader (or any other party leader, for that matter) does not book private functions anywhere but at businesses whose support he has. Do you think a card-carrying NDPer would open his or her doors to a private Conservative function? Not likely. And the Conservatives would not likely support that business, either. That said, if you are about to boycott Coastal Black for supporting Harper, keep in mind that, from Nanaimo north, the Conservatives garnered roughly 47 per cent of the popular vote in 2011. You might find it hard to do your shopping if you’re only willing to purchase from businesses that don’t support the Conservatives.
You might also have a tough time staying anywhere when you are travelling, considering that the Hotel Association of Canada (which represents more than 8,500 hotels, motels and resorts and employs 287,000 people nationwide) has publicly applauded Harper’s planned investment into the tourism sector.
Also, I don’t believe that anyone has to justify who they support in a democratic society to anyone other than themselves. I would much rather hear someone tell me that they support the Conservatives than to hear that they don’t vote.
Here’s something to consider; if you didn’t vote in the last election, you actually did. John Duncan and James Lunney earned their seats not only by acquiring the most votes for, but also by acquiring the fewest votes against.
The only way either of the MPs for our ridings could have changed in 2011 is by their competitors receiving more votes than they did.
If you didn’t vote in the 2011 election, you were either a Conservative supporter, in which case it doesn’t matter, or a non-Conservative, in which case you helped the Conservatives win by staying away from the polls.
Either way, you helped form the government of the day.
So if you don’t like the shape Canada has taken in the past four years, but you did not vote in 2011, you have as much to do with it as anyone who voted Conservative.
Keep that in mind when deciding how you will spend the day on Oct. 19.
Terry Farrell is the editor at the Comox Valley Record