Rains, pains and automobiles

A return to the lower mainland brings Thanksgiving epiphany

I took a quick trip to the Lower Mainland last weekend in search of family and a turkey dinner. I found both of those, but also discovered something else; that my decision to leave the urban jungle to make my home here in the Boundary was the right one.

Let’s start with the obvious traffic report. For the most part, it’s bumper to bumper all day long, in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Delta; it doesn’t matter where you are, there is a constant flow of traffic. Oh well, you just slow down and smell the exhaust. At least that’s what my fellow drivers seemed to be telling me, in addition to flipping me the bird when I signalled well ahead of my turn.

Then there’s the rain, and there was lots of it Thanksgiving weekend. A torrential downpour greeted us on Saturday, and the rain didn’t really let up until we reached Hope on our way home on Monday morning. Of course, there was the occasional rush of envy on my part for the lush greens of the trees and grasslands that had rebounded quickly from the summer scorching that affected much of the province, but other than those fleeting moments of madness I was desperate to leave the rain behind. Of course, when I set about doing just that, the freeway became a hydro planer’s delight, largely ignored by the drivers of many overpowered sport sedans and luxury SUV’s and resulting in at least a couple of collisions en route to the Crowsnest.

All told, I was not disappointed to bid farewell to the area I had called home for the better part of two decades, a place that I once loved but had simply grown tired of. Sure, it had energy, a “buzz” even, yet it seemed to lack purpose. There was “much ado about nothing”, people commuting for hours back and forth, crowding into the cookie-cutter shopping malls scattered throughout the Lower Mainland in search of material satisfaction.

I can hardly wait to go back for Christmas.

I was somewhat mystified by Conservative candidate Marshall Neufeld’s decision to skip all three political forums last Thursday. Granted, two of them were for the benefit of kids and teens, which, I assumed, helped convince Mr. Neufeld he had more pressing matters to attend to that afternoon, but the evening event held in Midway must surely have carried a bit more weight in his young political mind. While it has been suggested to me that candidates were advised to attend only those forums sponsored by the media or a local government organization, as a newcomer to politics in a brand new riding, one would imagine Mr. Neufeld would have made a point of using each and every opportunity to communicate his message to a population that only 11 years ago voted in a Conservative candidate.

I expect voter turnout to be extremely high for this election, and will not be surprised if a line up greets me when I arrive at the Rock Creek Fairground polling station on Monday. Truth be told, I am fairly certain where my vote will be placed, though I freely admit that I am intrigued by the possibility of seeing another Trudeau capture the nation’s highest office.

I will also not be surprised by the re-election of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, despite the polls putting him firmly behind the Grits. I have an inkling there will be many voters that may have lost faith in Harper’s government and are considering a change of allegiance, but abruptly lose their nerve at the ballot box and send the Tories back for another term.

Ain’t democracy great?