Only two candidates visible here so far

A week from this coming Monday, we will be casting our votes for the next parliament in Canada. But if I wasn’t a news junkie, I’m not sure whether or not I would know there is an election going on in this area.
It has been that quiet.
We have five candidates running in Thunder Bay-Rainy River, but just two of which have taken the initiative to put signs up in our community. The other three are invisible.
Ken Boshcoff, the Liberal incumbent, and John Rafferty, the New Democratic Party candidate, who ran one-two in the previous election 18 months ago, again appear to be battling it out for the top spot.
David Leskowski, the Conservative candidate who ran a respectable third in the June, 2004 campaign, could walk down the main streets of the three large communities in the west end of this riding and not be recognized.
Green Party candidate Russ Aegard and Marijuana Party hopeful Doug MacKay are both invisible around here.
The election issues that were front and centre locally during the last election included the mad cow crisis, softwood lumber, taxation, health care, and the diversification of the economy in Rainy River district.
Today, the health of the forestry industry and the diversification of the economy is probably the biggest issue facing residents of the northwest. That is followed by the lack of doctors throughout communities in the region.
The third issue is most likely identified as over-taxation.
The last election featured few specific policies from all three of the mainstream parties. But this time around, all three have been clear in laying out their platforms.
The three parties have clear policies for providing day care support. Tax reductions have been identified. Post-secondary education support to students has been identified. Law and order has become a wedge issue between the parties.
Residents easily can find these policies through the Internet, and easily can evaluate their similarities and differences.
If anything, this election is about ideas and how the mainstream parties will shape the government of Canada in the future. Such openness is welcome.
In other countries and areas, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, and Palestine, candidates fear for their lives by being public with issues and ideas. Voters are intimidated when they show up to vote.
Yet more residents vote in those elections where the right to choose has been a rare opportunity. In this riding, on the other hand, only 56.4 percent of the eligible voters cast their votes in the last election.
It is a sad state of affairs that we are less prepared to choose who we feel would be the best person to represent us than in those countries just taking the first steps toward democracy.
Become an informed voter—and be sure to vote on Jan. 23.

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