Saturday, June 02, 2018

The Provincial Election & Dignity for All


I managed to cycle to the candidates meeting at Eastminster United Church and back again on Thursday without getting wet. There was a shower while we were listening to the representatives of the three major parties in the province, so perhaps it was divine intervention.

Progressive Conservative Todd Smith, Liberal Robert Quaiff and New Democrat Joanne Belanger were all there as the Poverty Roundtable Hastings Prince Edward County hosted the final All Candidates Meeting of the campaign. They responded to a number of questions regarding what their parties would do to tackle issues surrounding poverty, such as a living wage, affordable housing, transportation, health care and food security and how to correct the root causes so that all are treated with dignity in this province.

My colleague and long-time supporter of the Poverty Roundtable, the Rev. Ed Bentley, did a good job as moderator, as he did during the federal election. I would say that all three candidates spoke well and with a genuine concern for those who so often get little attention during elections because they don't have much political clout.

Because these meetings are not debates there isn't much spark to them, to be honest. Granted, so-called debates have devolved to shouting matches in our era, but I would have appreciated a little more intensity to the discussion. It appears that we're all opposed to people living in poverty, and we understand the issues.

Not one of the candidates suggested that those who are poor should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. They get it that mental health is a significant factor for a segment of the population living in poverty, and that there are lots of working people who can't make ends meet on low wages.

I appreciate those who organized this event and Ed, for his role. I'm also impressed that all the candidates made the time to be there, something that didn't happen for a similar meeting in the federal election. God guide us all as we vote, that we might have a heart for those who are often invisible.

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