Only Charlie Taylor of the Green Party of Ontario offered a consistently progressive perspective at last night's safe and cozy Chamber affair. (I have yet to see a serious disagreement at any of these North Grenville Chamber of Commerce nights let alone a debate.) Both Dave Lundy (NDP) and Ray Heffernan (OLP) speechified us all night long in a desperate bid to gain support in what they know in their heart of hearts is a losing cause, and of course Steve Clark offered his usual slick talking gloss in addition to an enumeration of how many babies, figuratively speaking, he has kissed throughout Leeds Grenville since winning the seat from mad dog in a bi-election.
But Charlie came off as a real person, admitting at one point that he knew he hadn't a real chance of winning the seat and, on another, that he was no politician but was in it because he cared about the issues. This was no act: his sincerity was palpable and, most significantly, persuasive. Vote for the values to which you subscribe despite the political odds against you was one of Charlie's main messages. In other words, don't play politics with your vote.
The problem is that heroic effort was wasted even if it was cathartic, as all such pitches to our intelligence are in Leeds Grenville. Last night's attendance was sparse - but apparently larger than all the other all candidates meetings so far in the riding - but of those in attendance, not counting the wives and kids of candidates, at least 85% were over 65 while the other 15% were perhaps in their 40s or 50s. Of these, I counted 6 potential progressives, 3 of whom were Charlie's parents and partner. What's that tell you? You could run an orangutan in Leeds Grenville for the PCPO, and s/he win, and this has been going on for 92 years at the provincial level. Steve Clark could stay home and watch the whole thing on Cogeco and he'd still win. He wouldn't even have to send an avatar. The only question is by how much.