What up Point Douglas and world!
So this is it eh? The provincial election of 2011 to determine the person whose gonna rep our hood at the legislative building, and who the dude is who is going to run our province for the next couple years. So as someone under 30, and as an inner city resident, and as an aboriginal male…I am somehow magically...ENGAGED in the political process. It all started with a simple Google search in August searching for thepeople who were running. Since then, Teresa Pun hasentered as a 4th candidate with the Green Party, and Harry Rankin has come forward from the Communist Party. Now, seeing as how I am on the board for NECRC, communications with North End Community Helpers Network, work directly with the youth in AYO, and also am engaged with United Way of Winnipeg, I figured that these connections would allow for me to be very much engaged in this election.
AYO!’s PolitiX initiative did a first of its kind event at Ralph Brown Community Centre at the end of August called Get Informed. This info focused event was intended to equip youth 12 to 30 with information about the upcoming election, candidate bios, and info on how to vote. It was a very much well spirited idea, but turned out to be an under attended event. A little discouraging but at least the foundation was layed for future events in upcoming elections or similair circumstances. We were also able to prepare 13 questions for the candidates to be sent ahead of our upcoming GET REAL forum.
In the beginning we tried having our GET Real event at the beginning of September. It turned out that the Labour Day weekend was bad for the politicians. On the day of GET REAL, due to Kevin Chief being the only actual confirmed candidate, we decided to re-schedule. Apparently, we forgot to tell the newspaper, and another candidate actually ended up showing up at Turtle Island. It was very much a frustrating experience because even though some folks missed for legitimate reasons and others sent replacements, the spirit of the event was gone…there was no realness to be gotten.
Well, on Saturday September 24th, we actually had GET REAL. We had 3 candidates attend the event (Kevin Chief, Teresa Pun and Mary Lou Bourgeois) and some media. It was an informative event, in an intimate setting. We only had at most, 10 people sitting in the audience but the candidates still did the YES/NO thing. They also explained their Yesses and Nos in only 5 minutes which was great. Again, this was very much an under attended event, and was held on one of the days of advance voting, so I appreciate that these candidates took the time to come out themselves. John Vernaus sent his campaign manager Chris to send regrets in person.
This past Monday, we had North End Votes. I got to act as moderator and met up with the 3 familair faces from GET REAL (Kevin, Teresa and Mary Lou) but also joined by 2 delegates, from the Communist, Cheryl Ann Carr, and from the Progressive Conservative Logan Deurksen. It was a very long event, with many people in the sparsely attended audience leaving at the half time break. We were able to be flexible with the presentation, engage the audience, pull some answers out of some of the candidates, and basically see for ourselves what the parties priorities were. In addition, we had media there, free stew and bannock and of course merchandise in the form of t shirts, buttons and stickers. Awesomeness. Oh yeah, check out www.northendvotes.com for more awesomeness. (Pics from Kevin's Website)
Side note: this article pisses me off. That murder did not cause crime to be the focus of the forum, I was the moderator I should know. I think this reporter should take a little bit of sensitivity and maybe take a second to actually look at what is really happening instead of jumping to conclusion and, again, as is typical from many media, bring up the violence when community volunteers try to do something good. (see Lighting Up the Avenue). i wish the media would smarten up.
So we have had some challenges getting folks engaged in this election. There have been murders, accidents, suicides, robberies and all sorts of shitiness in and around many people that I know and love. this isn’t easy to deal with. In addition, I have been asking a lot of the young people for a lot of their time and energy. In the past 2 weeks alone we have had: North End Votes, Get Real, Feasting Our Hand Drum and the Kookum’s5th Annual Medicine Walk and Clarky’s March Against Violence. The young people are tackled with tragedy and still show up to support our community and nation time and time again. But as you can see from the numbers at these political events…its getting harder. We need the politicians to work with us, listen to us and continue to engage us, beyond the silly promises and rehearsed speeches of this election.
So Who Am I voting for…
Well, I have listened and have narrowed it down to one of two choices…however, it is important for me to say I haven’t voted yet, and am still listening to everything that’s happening. Kevin Chief (NDP) OR Teresa Pun(Green Party). I have known Kevin Chief for a number of years and continue to cross paths with him in the community and youth engagement world. We have both been recipients of the Future Leaders of Manitoba award in the Community Service section. Miss Teresa is new to me, but speaks so passionately, and is aware of topics and passionate as hell. She has a lot of innovative ideas and I am really attracted to the Green Party due to the actions of James Beddome. I have a lot of respect for both of these candidates and look forward to continuing our relationship regardless of the outcome of this election. Thanks so much to Mary Lou Bourgeois, who is so sweet and really loves her aunt!
MC’s final decision…coming SATURDAY!!! (stay tuned to eMCeeZ LoG)
Love & Respect peeps.
PS - don’t forget advance polls are open and voting day is October 4th!
PPS - check out my favourite campaign video so far that shows goodness in the North End. And by the way, Greg Selinger, can you and the NDP knock it off with the attack ads??? Seriously you have run one of the most negative ads I have ever seen. Can you please take a minute and think about the person you dedicated this election to. Try doing politics in a positive fashion if you actually do get re-elected, the young people I speak to are very turned off by this. I don’t care how effective they are.