Reader underwhelmed by party leaders’ visits

Reader underwhelmed by party leaders’ visits

Dear editor,

Recently, the Comox Valley was graced with the appearance of the leaders of two of our major political parties.

As one who is interested in the politics and the governance of our country, I was completely underwhelmed by both the advance publicity and the opportunities each party provided ordinary citizens to assess their leaders.

First, Thomas Mulcair and the NDP. It was only by accident that I learned of his visit. With a little research I determined that he would speak at the Filberg and I along with a large and enthusiastic crowd anxiously awaited his arrival.

Warmly introduced by his sister, he proceeded to read his speech from a teleprompter. His was a canned message likely given many times previously. He read flawlessly to polite applause and after an ovation, promptly left the floor. There was no question period. Eventually, the crowd quietly disbursed.

Well at least we got to see him in the flesh.

Next, Stephen Harper’s visit.

On Thursday, passing by my television I heard the commentator say that Harper would be in Comox that evening.

Researching the Conservative web page for details of his appearance, I came up completely empty-handed.

A telephone call to our member John Duncan’s constituency office yielded little fruit. The woman who answered did volunteer that I could phone their campaign office and perhaps learn some details.

“Butch” answered the phone there and advised me that the national office was handling the “invitations”. The message was plain and simple. This was not a meeting for the curious or for that matter, the general public.

Wow… we are in the beginning stages of an election campaign and this party does not even allow constituents the opportunity to get within a mile of  their leader, who just happens to have been our Prime Minister for the past four years.

Earlier this afternoon, while discussing the leaders’ visits with several friends, a young fellow sitting close by entered the conversation with the comment “most of my friends don’t vote… they just don’t care.”

Is it any wonder?

Dave Wilson

Courtenay