Meeting the candidate

So today was a whirlwind of political activity for myself.

First, I spent this morning polishing my EngPhys/Undergrad Physics Symposium and CUPC talk. Then I edited and finalized my submission for an opinion article to the Gateway.

I then headed to campus (as I deemed finishing my talk and article more important than my financial management for engineers class) where I signed on as a Gateway volunteer and got my mug-shot. I then did a final edit of my article and emailed it off (it had to be around 650 words). There’s a 14 day moratorium on the article, but the positions are summarized by my previous post on attaining a secular convocation. The article will hopefully run Tuesday if everything goes smoothly.

Immediately following that I headed to Dewey’s for the University NDP group’s “Back to School Socialism” event, which was a meeting with Linda Duncan, the New Democrat candidate for Edmonton-Strathcona. And I have nothing but praise for the woman.

Linda is an environmental lawyer with 30 years experience fighting for the environment (since before it was cool) who came within 5,000 votes of beating Conservative incumbent Rahim Jaffer in the riding in the past election. She also received about twice as many votes as the Liberal candidate. Things are looking very positive for Linda to have a chance to unseat a Conservative in Alberta.

The best feature of today’s meeting though had to be the fact that Rachel Notley was also in attendance and chipping in here and there. This gave a clear contrast between two very strong female New Democrat politicians.

I praised Rachel earlier after she pwned the Edmonton-Strathcona provincial candidates forum with elegance and grace. However, Linda, while still espousing an equal level of intellect, comes off very blunt, yet personable. Linda will tell you the truth as she sees it. She is also very warm and friendly. Unfortunately both politicians had to head off after too short of a visit (at around an hour), as Rachel feared her children were going to be left at the curb by the daycare and Linda had to continue the door-knocking.

One of the first questions to be thrown at Linda was in regards to the “Debate Debate 2008” issue, as many supporters were concerned about Jack Layton’s (initial) stance on Elizabeth May participating in the televised debate. She emoted a concern that the New Democrats had about the stances the Greens have taken, especially in buddying up with (and essentially endorsing) the Liberals, while selling out former NDP allies (Linda and many New Democrats worked with Elizabeth May and many of the Green supporters). Linda also brought up concerns about a media bias against the New Democrats, citing misquotes over the Debate issue and with the recent visit over the Fort MacMurray oil sands.

Although I can’t comment on the reality of a pro/anti-New Democrat bias in the media, I will agree with Linda when she suggested we all write letters to the editors of local papers as much as possible. Seeing that myself, and my girlfriend got into the Journal this past week, I have to agree, letters work.

Once the talk winded down, I had an unexpected meeting with the Idealistic Pragmatist, who someone had pointed me to potential help out with Linda’s website. Not realizing both people were one and the same, it was quite a pleasant surprise. IP has been political blogging longer than I have, and actually dons the full-out New Democrat colours (I’ve added the Bloggers for Linda button for now).

After that, I volunteered to tag along with a couple students who were canvassing for Linda. So I actually got my first first-hand experience at campaigning. And despite the wasp who stung my partner while a constituent’s dog ran down the block, the knocking went decently. It seems a lot of people want to see Jaffer out of parliament, but just need convincing of which way to swing (although some were vehemently against voting New Democrat).

So all-in-all this has been a very long, busy, and enjoyable day. Likely I will be doing more campaigning and volunteering in the next couple weeks, so be prepared for more political blogging (at least until the 14 of October), but Photonics Briefs and your regularly scheduled atheist-topics will continue.