For the first time in 3 elections, Diane Finley has something to worry about. And it comes in the form of independent candidate Gary McHale. Originally seen as a protest candidate running on a single issue, McHale has quickly picked up on the issues affecting the Norfolk side of Haldimand-Norfolk as well.
I will be the first to tell you I dismissed McHale’s candidacy initially. My first reaction was “What? Is this just a stunt?” and I laughed at the prospect of an indie candidate getting much over 12 votes. I remember political neophytes of the past, and remember their candidacies swelling up in a big fireball come election day.
However, after talking to Gary this past weekend (I spent the better part of an hour with him this weekend at the Delhi Harvest Fest) not only did I believe in his vision for the riding, I believe he is going to send a message to not just the OPP, not just Dalton McGuinty, not just Julian Fantino, but also to Diane Finley and Stephen Harper as well.
Gary McHale is what I would call a “Classic Conservative” or a libertarian. He’s interested in law and order, he’s a social conservative, but not invasively so, and he’s a fiscal hawk. All of those appeal to Finley’s base. I should know. I am Finley’s base. I’ve voted Reform and Conservative my entire life. I’m a social conservative — at one point I was going thorough to be a Baptist minister. I abhor taxes, and I believe we need to have a strong, competitive, vibrant Canada and the key to this is low taxes, strong employment, and responsible, accountable government. All of these things are in both Diane Finley’s and Gary McHale’s platforms.
But there’s one strong standout in my opinion. I believe Gary McHale when he says “I’m going to bring up Haldimand-Norfolk’s interests first.” Diane Finley, in her years with the government, has served in the cabinet, yet I can’t recall anything that she has delivered to our riding. I can’t recall a time when she stood up for farmers. I can’t recall a time when she lobbied for our share of the government tax dollars that are out there. Until this summer, there wasn’t even mention of the tobacco bailout! Finley, where have you been? I even know your husband, Doug Finley, is Harper’s right hand man; why couldn’t you get something done for us?
That is where McHale comes in. Think about it this way – Diane Finley can ignore her riding because she can largely get elected in Haldimand-Norfolk by carrying the Conservative banner. Sufficient to say, she doesn’t have to really be accountable to her electorate. She can show up each election, bring the blue C, and bring the votes home. I mean, anyone, even I can do that. What takes guts and gumption is to be elected independently and actually have to work for your food for next election. Show your riding that “This is what I did for you, Caledonia, Delhi, Haldimand, Norfolk, Port Dover, Simcoe, Waterford. Will you let me do it again?”
So for the first time in my voting career, I will not be voting Conservative. I am not putting a Conservative sign on my lawn. I am supporting a candidate who will stand for me, stand for my community, and stand for Haldimand-Norfolk. I am supporting a candidate who will put our issues ahead of the party, because he has no party to be accountable for. Just the electorate. I am supporting Gary McHale.
Richard Robillard (Roby)
Generation Zel! Radio