My friend, Ann Cowie, told me that she and her husband bought memberships in the Progressive Conservative Party so that they could participate in voting for a candidate who will run the Alberta party and thus be the premier until there is an election. Though neither of them are politically conservative, they have watched Gary Mar’s political career, both in health and in education and feels that both portfolios went downhill when he was in charge. A clear candidate did not emerge in the first election and the party went to a second stage of voting in weeks that ensued. In the meantime, Ann and Bob left for the Edinburgh Musical Festival. I knew the third round of voting was to take place Saturday and I kept seeing posters about Alison Redford as I would drive into my community. I wished that I knew where to go to do the same as Ann and her husband, to at least speak out about who the next premier should be, if that person has to be a Conservative (since I do recognize I live in Alberta). But that was one of those “I-should-do-‘s ....”, and I probably have 100 of those pass through my mind every day and don’t act on any of them.
At 2 pm Doral called me, which was nice for him to do, since it was his birthday. I had forgotten, even though I was there that day. The other nice thing he did was that he didn’t remind me that I had forgotten his birthday. I went on blithely, “Hey, why are you phoning and what are you doing right now?”
“Oh, I am driving home from voting for who the next Premier will be.”
“I wanted to do that but hadn’t really figured out how,” I continued.
“Well, if you are really serious about it, there is time: 4 hours from now until 7 pm. Goggle some words that will help you find the polling station in your area and you have time to vote if you are really interested.”
I wasn’t ready to have Doral be that direct with me. Taking his challenge on the chin, I corralled Connor and we both went over to get our party memberships at the Banff Trail Community centre ... and we voted.
The next day was Thanksgiving Dinner at my house. We discussed the election, elatedly.
Doral said, “This may be the first time in my life that anyone I have voted for has won.”
I replied, “Imagine my surprise to wake up in the morning to hear on the news that she had won by only 1600 votes and that was on the second count. A small margin. Thank you Doral for putting that psychological vice-grip on me – a little bit of guilt went a long way there, especially since you got 2 of us to vote for the price of one.”
“Did you enjoy that?” he replied. “I practised using that line on everyone in my cul-de-sac.”
“Yes,” joined in Anita. “I have a membership card now and so do most of the people on our block. We are going to have a membership card burning ceremony next week now that the election is over.”
“I am not burning mine”, I said. “I have mine pasted up on my event wall, where I keep all of the stubs from concerts, cruises, museums and lectures. I am in a contest with Connor to see who can be the most social. I am never giving up the memory of helping to choose the next premier in the province.”
Doral went on. “The only person I know who is a true Conservative is my father-in-law. I said to him, you should come out and vote with us. He said, no, I am not going to do that. I am going to let the other guys in the party sort that out.”
“The other guys?”, I asked Doral. “Who are they?”
Doral was quiet. He looked around the table. “I guess the ‘other guys’ are the ones around this table. Apparently we are the ones who like to vote.” He continued, “You know what made me vote for her? She challenged Rob Anders candidacy in the conservative party. That makes her an interesting candidate to me.”
Oh, so sweet to get Doral talking about politics.
I wish I hadn’t forget to wish him Happy Birthday.
On the other hand, I am glad he encouraged me to be a Conservative – if only for a day.