Editorial – The Campaign Letters

The election is over and The Free Press received many Letters to the Editor about the campaign.

It has been a long election campaign. That seemed to be the only fact that all three major political parties could agree on throughout the duration of it. And it has been a turbulent one, filled with trials and scandals (ex-Senator Duffy), disgraced candidates (Conservative Jerry Bance and NDP Alex Johnstone) and polarizing issues (the never-ending niqab debate).

Personally, I’m almost pleased to push my personal political views aside, and welcome the next prime minister with open arms. Instead of talking about the personal characteristics that would make a good national leader, I think it’s time that we just let someone take the reigns again, and move forward. It’s time to talk about some of the issues that the campaign has raised and reform and stop talking about the varying hairstyles and facial grooming habits of the three main party leaders, which has happened more than once over the 78-day campaign.

It’s hard to deny the amount of attention this specific election has generated. It was proven over Thanksgiving long weekend, when 3.6 million Canadians cast early ballots. With over 10 per cent of the population, not just the electorate, willing to pause their weekend festivities to participate in the democracy, it is proof that people are paying attention and they care about the current issues. Whether he wanted to or not, Stephen Harper has become somewhat of a polarizing figure, causing many to speak out against him and many others to defend him.

The Free Press office has received ample amounts of letters about this election, and most were in favour of the “anyone but Harper” thought. One of my co-workers was accused of being politically opinionated and that the Letters to the Editor featured in the paper were biased for one candidate over the incumbent MP, David Wilks.

I would like to address this by saying that we published the letters that we received by preference of location, not content. Letters from the Elk Valley take precedent over letters from surrounding areas, and we tried to present critiques of all parties, not just the Tories. However, this was a challenge considering that most of the letters we received were more critical of the Harper government than supportive of it. The letters are not the opinions of the editorial staff – we have this column and our own editorials for that purpose. To the best of our capabilities, they are the views of residents of the Elk Valley.

With the votes freshly counted, we were in one of the tightest ridings in the country, with only 285 separating NDP winner Wayne Stetski from David Wilks. It’s time to welcome change and see what these new candidates and new Liberal majority government can do.