It was early morning in Banff on Nov. 27 when a young man emerged from his modest apartment building. He walked down Banff Ave. towards the local McDonald's restaurant for his morning cup of coffee. It was about 9 a.m., and our young friend had an important day ahead. Granted citizenship in 1998 by the Chrétien government, Jesus of Nazareth, now relocated as Jesus of Banff, was on his way to the polls for the first time as a Canadian.
Having previously lived under non-democratic conditions, Jesus was poised to make his vote count. He was ready and he was psyched, but he had a problem. He was an undecided voter.
As Jesus stepped into McDonald's to grab his morning coffee, he heard others in line argue politics and their intended votes. The majority of the McMuffin crowd were Liberal supporters. Jesus judged them to likely be immigrants from Ontario, with Toronto Maple Leafs hats and bitter feelings towards the Harris government. He listened to their arguments but found himself weary of broken promises and curious views on fiscal reform. He decided four more years of Jean Chrétien was not what he wanted and crossed them off the list in his mind.
Leaving McDonald's sipping on his coffee, Jesus next thought of the two parties on the right, the Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance. The PCs were not a bad choice, he thought, but despite their solid views on most issues, Jesus wasn't about to vote for the party that made him pay an extra seven cents on every dollar he spent. Besides, Joe Clark already had his time, and Jesus didn't see any great changes last time around.
The Alliance was a curious choice, with their fundamental values and relaxed gun control laws. This was certainly the party for his father, old testament God. Jesus got a couple of phone calls from dad on the matter, but intolerant views on homosexuality and fear of gun-happy Albertans made him cross the Alliance off his list as well.
It was noon now, and he was left with the Greens and the NDP. The Greens didn't have sound fiscal policy in place, though their environmental platform was strong. Maybe in a couple of years I'll vote for them, Jesus thought. The NDPs were big on health care, something he liked, but Jesus didn't want to see his new homeland bankrupted by irresponsible socialists. Another option gone.
After morning coffee became midday Slurpee, Jesus finally headed to the ballot box. He looked around, about to mark his X and he did the right thing. He spoiled his ballot and calmly walked away. There was a hockey game on TV that night, and he had harder decisions to make, like what kind of beer he would buy for the occasion.