After posting what I believed to be a fair and balanced explanation of who I was voting for last year, I learned that there was no way you could announce and explain how you vote without alienating those on the other side. Voting always has been and probably always will be (for those of us who actually vote) a personal thing that upsets those that see the world differently. So a wise person would keep it quiet but I am going to keep up the practice of explaining who I am voting for and why. As always, the comments are open for a rebuttal or even a good rebuke.
As most of you know, I grew up Progressive Conservative. My first campaign I helped out on way Hon. Ray Meiklejohnâ€™s 1986 campaign for what was then called Saskatoon Mayfair (old massive riding that was Saskatoon Northwest, Meewasin, and part of Saskatoon Massey Place). I was twelve. I later ran in Saskatoon Riversdale in 1995 where I narrowly (by 3000 or so votes) lost to Roy Romanow. If he wasnâ€™t Premier, beloved in the riding, accomplished, a better politician, well financed and far more popular than I was, I would have taken him.
In 2003 I was planning to throw my vote away and vote Saskatchewan Party (they have never run hard in the riding) when Hon. Eric Cline came to my door late one evening while campaigning. I was his last house to door knock on and he was ahead of schedule so when I asked him some questions, he got all animated and passionate at the door and we had a good discussion about provincial policy, politics, and even some NDP politics. It was a good enough discussion that I decided to vote NDP for the first time in my life (although I did have second thoughts while heading into the voting booth)
In 2006 or 2007, I think Linsay Martens emailed or Facebooked about Cam Brotenâ€™s campaign and asked me to check out his website and consider supporting him. I checked out the website and I knew Cam would win but I was busy helping out with Ken Cheveldayoffâ€™s campaign. I donâ€™t think I met Cam that campaign but while helping to elect a Saskatchewan Party candidate, we did vote for Cam in Saskatoon Massey Place as I thought Cam would be a good MLA and I have always been a firm believer in the need for a strong opposition.
Cam won by around 60% of the vote and I ran into him at the Community Christmas dinner for the Salvation Army and we had a good chat. I think Cam was the first Saskatchewan politician to embrace Twitter (@cambroten) and we connected online. Over the last couple of years I have found him easy to work with, tremendously helpful when I needed some help or a question answered and often would refer me to another MLA when I was ranting about something or had a question on Twitter. To be honest he kind of raised my expectations for how approachable a MLA could and should be.
In the Legislature, he went toe to toe with Hon. Rob Norris and held the government accountable for a debacle over the Carlton Trail college mergers. He didnâ€™t score any cheap political points during those debates and I felt brought some restraint to a debate that could have gone ridiculously partisan. While Cam is obviously partisan as a NDP MLA, we can talk about issues we disagree on. This is a quality that not all elected officials have.
Voting NDP is not first nature for me. I tried to like rent control and look how that turned out. I canâ€™t agree with a potash royalty rate review because I hate the idea of a government reneging on itâ€™s word (a NDP government at that) with a royalty rate that was just signed. I really like the Bright Futureâ€™s Fund but that idea was lifted from the Saskatchewan Liberals. On top of that, I really like the Saskatchewan Partyâ€™s SAID program and I think overall, the Wall government deserves another four years.
Despite the fact that the NDP seem to be struggling in the polls, I am going to vote for Cam Broten. I still believe MLAs matter and Cam does an excellent job. An effective government needs and effective opposition and Cam has shown that he can help hold them accountable in the Legislature, the media, and online. As a resident of the riding, the issues I have, he experiences as well. In addition to living in the riding, he is a tireless campaigner; talking to neighbours and constituents online, on the doorstep, and through his involvement in community events. There were many days over the last four years in the freezing cold or blazing heat that his Twitter feed said, â€œknocking doors in ___________â€.
His first four years were excellent and he deserves another four. The voters in Planet S magazine agree with me (they named him the best MLA two years in a row). I have high expectations for my elected officials. Not many have met them over the years but Cam has exceeded them.