They say it takes a village and Huron-Bruce Liberal candidate Allan Thompson is paying special attention to the riding’s villages and hamlets in the run up to the Oct. 21 federal election.
In recent weeks he’s been devoting much of his time to knocking on doors in small communities like Hensall, Dashwood, Kippen and Cargill.
“I’ve said again and again that Huron-Bruce needs a stronger voice in Ottawa. But to be heard in Ottawa, you have to listen in Huron-Bruce,” Thompson said.
And listening is what he’s doing, for hours at a time each day, often in small communities where the people who open their doors are surprised to see a political candidate standing there.
“Time and again, the folks who answer the door seem surprised to see me and often note that they’ve never had a candidate at the door before,” Thompson said.
Thompson ran for the Liberals in Huron-Bruce in 2015 and placed a close second to the Conservative incumbent. He now has a home in Goderich. The former Toronto Star reporter and journalism professor was nominated as the Liberal Party of Canada candidate in Huron-Bruce in mid-January on a promise to work as hard as it takes to win and to give the riding a stronger voice. The theme song at his nomination meeting was the Proclaimers tune with the refrain “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.” The day after his nomination, Thompson was pounding the pavement in the village of Walton, knocking on virtually every door.
In recent weeks, he’s been to a string of small communities in Huron-Bruce, including Bervie, Cargill, Dashwood, Dungannon, Glammis, Gorrie, Hensall, Huron Park, Kippen, Londesborough, Port Albert, Tiverton and Varna. More are on the to-do list.
“I grew up on the edge of Glammis, one of those little hamlets where people who drove through would joke that if you blinked, you’d miss it,” Thompson said. “Well let me tell you, these communities look different when you see them on foot and try to knock on every door.”
What you learn knocking on doors tells you a lot about our small communities, Thompson says. You can find prosperity, just down the street from abject poverty. There are people who are clearly proud of their homes and their community, and others who are bitter, or feel the world has passed them by.
Thompson says he’s meeting a lot of people who say they are still undecided about how they’ll vote in the upcoming election – or who have given up on politics and won’t vote at all. Many admit they haven’t thought much about the vote or weren’t aware there was an election on at all. When asked again to share their concerns, the most common themes are about cost of living, the lack of transportation and services in smaller communities and the notion that government decisions are made with big cities in mind.
“Maybe they’re just being nice to a candidate, but many say they don’t vote by party, but instead make their decision based on the people who are running locally and who seems like they could do the best job standing up for the riding,” Thompson said.
“I sometimes end off by saying to undecided voters that maybe they should just vote for the candidate who took the time to come to their door and hear what they had to say.”