10.15.2013

The Strathcona Circus

What if you were at a sleazy daytime talk show and an election broke out? 

That’s the feeling many citizens of Strathcona County have as we enter the final week of campaigning before the October 21st vote.    As one local resident succinctly put it: “…it’s f**king embarrassing.”

Truth be told, the garbage started long before the past few weeks.  The election campaign – or more accurately the players involved – has brought their antics into the spotlight.

We've had a ‘sexting’ scandal involving an incumbent that made the news province-wide followed by conspiracy theories, that candidate’s decision to run for re-election anyway, accusations of kickbacks, threats of lawsuits (also involving incumbents), rumours of Councillors partying it up on the Strathcona taxpayer dime while away on Conference junkets, accusations of attempted media manipulation, and on and on.

Even I was contacted on the weekend by an anonymous caller who offered “financial compensation” in return for “publishing dirt on three candidates running in two separate Wards”.

I’m expecting Jerry Springer to walk on-stage at this point.

You got to feel sorry for those poor folks at the Sherwood Park News.  They’re doing their best to present the candidates platforms in between stories of candidate affairs and legal talk.

The candidates themselves continue to work overtime as is expected in an election campaign.  For most of them, the additional struggle has been to get their message out to the voters regarding important matters in a race that has been founded largely on scandal. 

Thankfully not as much as it was, a few candidates are still frustrated at the door when the conversation turns swiftly from Bremner, the hospital, and infrastructure, and slips into the ‘what’s with that moron with the texting?’ area.

Now while it’s a shame that this campaign has been marred by tabloid-style pap, much of it can be used as part of the voter’s method for determining a choice.  Scandal often reveals the true morals and ethics of a candidate: if their own family can’t trust him or her, how can a group of voting strangers?

While we all enjoy the free entertainment this election has brought us – and if was a gambling man, I’d bet there was a bit more Springer-like excitement to happen before voting day – I urge Strathcona County voters to take the extra effort to read the material, visit the websites, and attend the candidate’s forums.  Get informed.

And if I may make just one suggestion: while the circus is fun to watch, electing clowns to run our local government might not be the best voting strategy. 

The results can be f**king embarrassing.

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His Name Was Steven