Sleepless in Esquimalt

  3 June 2010

No doubt there is something to be said for three week election campaigns, but what ever it is I wish somebody would say it to me. The benefits are not, as I dash from meeting to meeting, readily apparent and if it is a blessing in disguise I can only say that it is a very effective disguise indeed. I am, as readers may have guessed, seriously delinquent in my blogging duties.
Still, as my gran used to say, mustn’t grumble, there’s them in Africa who haven’t food to put on the table. Quite why the day to day inconveniences of life in south London should have seemed less irksome for such a regrettable and avoidable reason, not to mention one that seemed only tenuously connected with my being required to vacuum the carpet, gran never fully clarified. Certainly it cut no ice with your (admittedly pre-adult) correspondent. However, I think even gran would have conceded Randall Garrison’s right to at least a murmur of complaint.
If running in an election is roughly the equivalent of two full time jobs – my estimate, based on candidates schedules glimpsed in Outlook printouts – running while holding down your day job seems a task of Herculean proportions. Yet this is Randall’s situation. A prof at a local college and the NDP’s candidate in Esquimalt Juan de Fuca, Randall’s academic superiors have denied him a leave of absence to campaign, an action that seems breathtakingly undemocratic for a supposedly enlightened institution.
I met him in mid-afternoon, between a lecture and three more campaign events (including the Island Meet and Greet) and unsurprisingly for such a busy man he got straight to business. There are, he tells me, three main issues in the riding: Health care is number one, but transportation and housing are two and three. This is largely because rents are high in the area and rising. He has lost a number of students to universities on the prairies because they can no longer afford to live, even renting, in the area. Parents are also unhappy that their children have to move away, sometimes far away and have no hope of ever buying a home their community.
Randall has lived in the area for many years and been active in local politics. Like many people of similar experience, he gets housing and how basic it is to a healthy community. After assuring me of his support for our priorities if he is elected, he hurried off to another community meeting. I rather envied the spring in his step. He is clearly coping with a three week campaign better than your correspondent.