Whitest slice in the political toaster

As the current by-election campaign drifts to a conclusion, I feel as if I’ve been watching a gender-altered sequel to The Stepford Wives

As the current Victoria by-election campaign drifts to a foregone conclusion, I feel as if I’ve been watching a gender-altered sequel to The Stepford Wives.

The Pillsbury Men, shot on location at the University of Victoria, comes with a warning: you must follow the script closely because the cast is all John Doughs.

Here are the four principal players in order of appearance: Murray Rankin, lawyer, UVic, NDP; Donald Galloway, lawyer, UVic, Green; Paul Summerville, business, UVic, Liberal, and Dale Gann, business, UVic, Conservatives.

Really folks, is this how you build on three solid terms of parliamentary stewardship invested on your behalf by retiring MP Denise Savoie? Is this what passes for diversity and political texture in the community?

In a multi-grain world, Victoria voters are picking through a loaf of Wonder Bread and popping the whitest slice in the political toaster.

With the vote just days away, opinion polling suggests that electors don’t really need to be able to tell the actors apart. They are opting for the status quo and that entails a robust rejection of the distant and indifferent government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A Forum Research survey has given the NDP a commanding 46-per-cent lead. This respects the fact that Savoie had been securing increasing shares of the popular vote in the last three elections going from 38 per cent in 2006, to 44 in 2008, to 50 per cent in 2011.

The Greens are a distant second with 20 per cent, but even this showing is meaningless. At least half of that 20 per cent is anti-Harper sentiment. The Green Party is a spent force nationally and even the proximity of Green MP Elizabeth May is irrelevant. Liberal support is wallowing at 14 per cent and not even the prospect of an era of neo-Trudeaumania will change that.

The really good news is that only 12 per cent of Victoria voters are still prepared to vote Conservative in keeping with their party’s brass, who discounted the outcome from the day the series of byelections were announced.

“Majority governments don’t win by-elections,” Conservative party spokesman Fred DeLorey said back in October. “Our candidates will be contrasting the strong economic record of Prime Minister Stephen Harper with the dangerous economic policies of (NDP leader) Thomas Mulcair,” DeLorey said. He added that these elections would be “for the opposition to lose.”

Happily, there is little chance of that happening here in Victoria.

There is a reason why one in four Canadians thinks Harper is the worst prime minister we have endured in 45 years. There is also a reason why only 16 per cent of Canadians trust their prime minister, putting Harper near the bottom of a list of 26 leaders (some despots) in the Americas.

Apparently, the vast majority of  Victoria voters share these sentiments and that makes the disappointment of a Pillsbury bland byelection bearable.

When she announced her retirement, Savoie talked about the changes occurring in Canada under the Harper Conservatives. “Many of you have told me you no longer recognize Canada as a voice for peace, justice and sustainability in the world,” she said. “Many have wondered what can be done to stop a majority government. The key is to work for the change we want.  An informed and engaged electorate is unbeatable.”

Words to live by. Thank you Denise. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancouver Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo releases his new single, Christine, on Oct. 30. (Photo courtesy Andrew Dodd)
Island bluesman David Gogo evokes return to good times with new single

Upcoming release ‘Christine’ among a dozen new songs written during pandemic

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann will play the same piano at the Port Theatre on Nov. 1. (Photo courtesy Best Days Ever Photography)
Piano duo perform on one piano in Nanaimo return to live performance

Marcel and Elizabeth Bergmann present first live, in-person concert since March

Leaking Time by Oak Bay resident Ilka Bauer is the winning entry of the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Ilka Bauer Image)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Most Read