Thursday, April 28, 2005

The 30 Million Member Ridings

Chuck Cadman is now the centre of attention in Ottawa, for obvious reasons. One also imagines, once David Kilgour returns to Canada, that he will be sharing the spotlight.

The Globe & Mail is all over Cadman today as the Surrey North MP details how he’s listening to his constituents before deciding whether or not to topple the government. While this is a great exercise in grass roots democracy, it also lends itself to several problems. For example, I think a lot of die hard Liberals lucky enough to live in Surrey North or Edmonton Beaumont will be picking up the telephone and saying something along the lines of:

“Hello, I’m a long time resident of Surrey North/Edmonton Beaumont and I feel I need to share my opinion with Mr.Cadman/Mr.Kilgour. I’m a long time Conservative even though I voted for Mr.Cadman/Mr.Kilgour last time but I must say I’m in no hurry to see an election right now. I think Mr.Cadman/Mr.Kilgour should vote against bringing down the government this spring since we really owe it to Canada to see the Gomery Report through to the very end. I’ve talked to a lot of friends and family and they all share this opinion. Thanks for listening.”

In fact, I imagine a lot of Liberals who, say, live outside of Surrey North or Edmonton Beaumont will be calling or e-mailing Monsieurs Cadman and Kilgour with e-mails of this sort. All they’d really need is a good BC/Edmonton accent and the knowledge that Mr. Cadman can be reached at 604-589-0338 or that Mr. Kilgour can be reached at 780-495-2149.

It also occurs to me that a lot of Conservatives lucky enough to have an area code in one of those two ridings will be doing likewise and saying something along the lines of:

“Hello, I’m a long time resident of Surrey North/Edmonton Beaumont and I feel I need to share my opinion with Mr.Cadman/Mr.Kilgour. I’m a long time Liberal but even I have been thoroughly disgusted by what has come out of the Gomery Inquiry. I certainly will not be voting Liberal next time and I think it’s imperative that Mr.Cadman/Mr.Kilgour vote to bring down the government right now. Clearly, Paul Martin has lost the moral authority to govern. I’ve talked to a lot of friends and family and they all share this opinion. Thanks for listening.”

It also seems likely that a given individual might call from home today, then try again from their work number tomorrow and maybe drop the MP (or, hey, why not, both MPs) a call from their cell phone over the course of the weekend. As for those with 4 or 5 e-mail addresses…

Gotta love grass roots democracy, eh? Now excuse me, I have some phone calls to make…

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