Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Win My Vote: An Open Invitation

An Open Invitation to Election 2011 Candidates of Prince Edward and Hastings Counties:

I am Canadian - one of millions proud to call this great country "home." I have been blessed with incredible family, good health, and a husband who works long hours to provide for our growing family. While we are not rich, we are not quite poor, either. Mostly, we are getting by and trying to enjoy ourselves along the way.

It's not always easy. My husband lost his job during the recession and we were forced to sell our first home and move to "The Friendly City" when he finally found work after six long months of searching. We have spent the past few years settling into a life here and trying to climb out from under a mountain of debt - a challenge facing many Canadians.

We do not live large or take vacations. My husband drives a 12-year old car and we're hoping to get one more winter out of our 42-year-old furnace. Our children do not wear designer clothes unless they've been handed down and we eat a lot of potatoes. I am a menu-planning, strictly-budgeted coupon clipper.

I stay at home with our two children and have done so for almost six years. It is a sacrifice, but one we've made willingly. Happily. Besides, even if I wanted to find a job outside of our home, daycare costs would soak up any financial gains. Trust me - we've crunched the numbers over and over: until our youngest son is in school full-time, I will be here, trimming the budget and raising the future.

My husband earns a decent wage, especially for this area of the province, but in order to do so, he works more than 60 hours every week. Like so many others eking out their living, we are practically paycheque-to- paycheque, and every month, bemoan the loss of all those long hours to taxes.

Yes, we have access to healthcare and appreciate that we will - eventually - receive compassionate care should we call the doctor's office, visit a clinic or end up in the hospital ER, feverish child in-arms. Our children do (and will) participate in the French Immersion program in a Catholic school mere blocks away and their grandparents have graciously offered to pay a portion of their sports-related fees.

We are lucky - to have each other, our children, great neighbours and family within a two-hour drive.

Still...we worry. We worry that the price of groceries will continue to rise, the cost of gas will cut further into our already-tight budget and that the day will come when our children will be accepted to university and we will not have enough in the coffee-tin coffers. (RESPs are presently on hold because we simply do not have enough left over at month's end. This, in particular, bothers my husband, who is still paying off his OSAP loans.)

I worry about our aging parents and wonder what will happen when they can no longer care for themselves. How will they afford the best possible care? Will they be able to afford any care at all? Will they be separated - a heartbreaking, shameful reality for many of our nation's seniors. If not, how will we afford to care for them, should it come to that?

I wonder what sort of lessons we're teaching our children when we tell them that this is the best country in the world, but that they hear us say that we have little trust in those longing to "be the boss" of it.

We pay our taxes, pay tithing, pay the piper and always, it seems, are paying our dues.

But as we do all of this, while raising our boys to be earth-friendly and globally-minded, what will YOU do? If I tick the box next to your name on May 2nd, what will YOU bring to this city, in need of change, of restoration, of hope? What will your party bring to this country, reeling still from financial setbacks and a depressing job market?  What will your party bring to all of us who've been frustrated with governmental power or  felt disappointment that those we chose to lead, were not chosen?

I invite you to visit me here, in my home. It's small and bursting at the seams with the stuff of boys, but the coffee is hot, the chairs are comfy and the door is always open.

I invite you to share with me - and my children - how your party can and will offer new direction for this country, fresh ideas for a clean and bright tomorrow. Please, convince me to have faith in your promises and tell me how I can add my voice to yours.

Tell us, an average Canadian family, how we can help to shape the future.

Do this and I will give you my faith...and my vote.


  1. This needs to be mailed out to the leaders of the political parties!

  2. I wish I could copy and paste as my own- true words missy!

  3. Mailed to local paper and local candidates.

    Now, we wait.


  4. Youre awesome Liz. Way to go on being so proactive and making yourself heard. I'll be curious to hear what the response will be!

  5. Love it. Love your candor, and your proud and unapologetic way of doing things. <3

  6. Well, said. Thank you.

  7. Your reality is the reality for many Canadians. I hope someone will hear you.

  8. I hope so, too. So far, I've heard nothing, but these are early days. I'm anticpating a form letter, expressing regret, perhaps an invitation to pop by an office or a meet-and-greet.

    I am, however, heartened to see how many people have stopped by to read this post (many thanks to everyone, especially commenters) and hope that I will soon have some news to report.

    Am hopeful too, that my voice - my vote - will make a difference, for all of us.

  9. Well, Margaret Atwood and others are tweeting your blog post across the cybersphere - so message is out!

  10. I am AMAZED at the power of all of our voices - virtual or otherwise - and hope that we are heard. I am also humbled - and proud - that my words may inspire conversation and renew faith.

    We shall see.

  11. Great article Liz. You should use this gift and go into writing professionally!!


  12. Thanks, Rebecca. Am tiptoeing my way into "a writing life". Baby steps, but am quite pleased for the journey!

  13. So excellently put. We feel the same with one child and one on the way, childcare costs are too high, we juggle long hours and work across different time zones - to get the most out of the day and my heart sinks whenever the gas gauge shouts out. We take minimal journies, plan well, work hard and pay the piper and we too want more than platitudes from our politicians! I hope your letter gets the media and political exposure it should - you speak for so many Canadian families. Thank you!

  14. I think that my/your/our experience is the same for thousands, if not millions of Canadians. I am not bitter for the choices WE'VE made - to have children, for me to stay home with them, etc - but it's very discouraging to work hard, and feel as though it all goes unrecognized and unrewarded. Or gets taxed. ;)

    I am torn, politically. It seems to me that each party represents at least a portion of what I want for my family, my city, my country. But there is no ONE party that encompasses MOST of what I feel is most important and therein lies my problem. The party I USED to vote for, without exception, no longer speaks entirely for me - as my life has changed, so have my views. Add a weary cynicism and an eager-to-fight-about-politics husband to the mix and you can see why I need convincing.

    Thank for letting me be your voice too, 21st Mum!

  15. This might be a good as it gets for a while, but remember what you have is like gold. Your family and friends I'm sure admire your attitude and gratitude for life. You make us proud, just to hear your honesty filled with true integrity. Keep asking the right questions, and the answers will come in time.

  16. I love your post. Hope you are getting lots of offers from your political candidates!

  17. Thanks, Ann! I seem to be having a much easier time of it than you're having over there in Ptbo. Yikes!

    Am meeting with NDP candidate tomorrow, and have received phone calls from the others. So far, so good. I am pleased by their response and am even happier that my quest has inspired some friends who've not voted for years, to vote.

  18. Dear Liz--You've reached a Canadian/American audience and all you've said so meaningfully (well, minus the health care of Canada here in Tennessee and all other states and territories of the USA) applies to American young (and old) families & would-be leaders as well. Have you heard any responses from present and future politicos as yet? I was a wannabe running for state rep. here but with a tiny budget prior to such lovely tools as your blog. Much too radical & poor for the mainstream (though I say with all lack of facetiousness CONSERVATIVELY radical--I wanted schools maintained well and a bottle bill to take some of the trash from our roadways). I'm very proud of you!

  19. Is that you, Aunt Susan? SO thrilled to have you here at Life With Bellymonster.

    I did indeed hear/meet with all candidates and am/was delighted to have done so. They were, all four, passionate and well-spoken and believed wholly in their party. It made my final vote difficult, actually, because I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity. It takes a brave person to stand up/go before the public in the ways that they do.

    Will you run again? I reckon you should. You are wise and compassionate woman and KNOW what it is to raise a family in this day and age, and how tough it can sometimes be.