I love politics. I love human nature. I love when someone exceeds my perception of who they are.
Last Friday I was in a meeting to learn how to be a scrutineer for the NPA Political Party. I was there to support their candidates in the Vancouver municipal election. I like to expose myself to different experiences and thought this would be interesting.
As we gathered for the training a presentable, older woman came into the room, sat at my table and started a rant…
“We must get rid of the mayor; he is the most vile man in history.”
She looked at me for confirmation. I gave her a smile, leaned forward, and with a soft drawl replied.
“Really? The most vile man in history? Really? I know we all want this mayor to be gone, but I can think of lots of people worse than him. So I will say you are wrong.”
She looked at me as if I had just become the second vilest person in history. I smiled back.
These types of group situations have never been my strong point.
In the end, the election in Vancouver didn’t go as I had hoped.
I was pleased that my favourite mayor, Richard Stewart, was re-elected in Coquitlam. I have dealt with Mayor Stewart many times and he is impressive. A man of integrity.
We first met while I was working at the BC Highland Games. After the dignitary introductions, speeches and obligatory chat, Mayor Stewart headed off to stroll through the Games area. I watched from afar as he bent to pick up some garbage someone had thrown on the ground. It struck me that he was a man quietly taking care his city. On every meeting since, I have had that same impression. He is a kind, smart and good man, taking care of his city.
Today Mayor Stewart made me cry. He gave an interview about the battle his daughter is waging with depression. He described how he spent the campaign, not out shaking hands and garnering votes, but in a hospital. “My role as Dad was way more important than my role as a politician.” And he still won.
Listen to the interview with Liza Yuzda of CKNW. Mayor Stewart’s voice will break your heart.
He did the right thing. And he still won. And now he is willing to tell the story. This gives me hope.
I love politics. I love human nature, and I especially love when someone exceeds my perception of who they are.