Sunday, April 24, 2011

Want My Vote?

As most of you know, I am Canadian; you may also know that Canada is currently running a federal election. A little over a week ago, I sent out the following email to all the candidates in my riding:
From: John A. Ardelli <>
Date: April 17, 2011 11:45:24 PM ADT
To: Cecil Clarke <>, Mark Eyking <>, Kathy MacLeod <>, Chris Milburn <>
Subject: Who to Vote For

A lot of people are disillusioned with politicians. Many people I've overheard on the street have actually said they weren't going to bother to vote because they don't think it'll make any difference regardless who gets in. I understand how they feel; I often feel that way, too. However, I also know that nothing is going to change unless we get the right person in office and that's not going to happen if we give up and stop voting altogether; we just have to know who to vote for.

So that leaves the million dollar question: how do we know who to vote for?

With all respect, I don't believe in modern politics. To me, the whole "campaign trail" thing is little more than a fancy popularity contest with the most popular candidate, rather than the best one for the job, getting in. So, myself personally, I don't see any value in all the TV and radio spots, the newspaper spots, the websites etc. They say a lot about what a candidate intends to do but little about what a candidate can do; a candidate may have all the best intentions but may, in the end, find themselves unable to fulfil their campaign promises.

In short, what I want to see is not what a candidate wants to do but what they are able to do. Whatever candidate can prove to me that they can make a difference once in office will get my vote.

So, you want to demonstrate what you're willing and able to do for people in your riding? I know someone who could use your help:

I've known Marie Stewart, my current girlfriend, for almost six years now. As I've gotten to know her over the years, I've come to realize she's one of the hardest working people I know with a lot of untapped potential, most of which is only limited by her lack of education and, as she's gotten older, physical limitations. For many years now she's been trying to better herself, to learn new skills and get into the workforce but no one seems willing or able to help her.

Marie never finished school. It's not that she wasn't willing to learn; she simply never got the guidance she needed. She has a learning disability and, upon hitting Grade Five, she hit the proverbial wall and was unable to continue. Having gotten to know her over the years I know she has tremendous potential; I've seen her grasp things, particularly how to operate new household technologies, with an ease the tech challenged would envy. Obviously she could learn more; all she needs is someone who understands how she learns with enough patience to teach her.

At the moment, her marketable skills are limited. She has extensive experience in both residential and commercial cleaning and limited experience in a retail setting but little more than that. She has made several attempts to further her education and has been stymied mostly for lack of funds; her cheque from Community Services simply will not cover any attempt to further her education. Also, although she has a firm grasp of technologies like voicemail and DVR, her knowledge of and experience with computers is very limited.

On top of that, she is 52 years old and is developing health problems. Her biggest issue is a bone spur in her heel; it makes it excruciatingly painful for her to stand for any length of time. This limits her ability to do any job, like cleaning, that requires her to be on her feet. Her doctors have told her she needs custom made footwear but such footwear would cost in excess of $300.00. She's asked Community Services for help with this but they refuse to help her except to get cheaper, pre-made shoes which her own doctors tell her are useless for her.

When she tries to improve herself she often meets with resistance, and often outright hostility, from Community Services. For example, she's been working part time at a local hotel to try to supplement her income. She's not trying to defraud the government; it's simply that her cheque, less than $900.00 a month, is not enough to cover her attempts to further herself. Yet when she talks to Community Services they treat her as if she's trying to cheat the government. No. Community Services refused to help her; now she's simply trying to help herself.

Her Community Services cheque simply isn't enough for her to pay her day to day expenses, much less help her get back on her feet. She doesn't want to stay on the cheque; she'd much rather be earning her own money but without education and computer skills and with her body betraying her, her ability to work is diminishing. If she had the proper help, the custom footwear she needs, the proper 21st Century high school education and the proper guidance, she could be a valuable asset in the workforce but she just doesn't know where to start and no one will help her.

For the past 12 years all Community Services will tell her, in a nutshell, is that she has to go through "proper channels" if she wants to improve herself, but those "channels" are designed with people with normal learning capability in mind. That's why she ends up having trouble when she takes course etc. because the courses designed for the ordinary learner and she needs special attention.

The problem is that Marie IS highly intelligent and she comes off that way when you first meet her; you can't really tell, on first meeting, she has a learning problem. That's because once she learns a new skill she can apply it as well as or better than most but it takes her longer to learn in the beginning. Ordinary educators just don't seem to know how to approach teaching her and tend to lose patience with her before she can manage to learn the skill they're trying to teach.

She wants to learn. She wants to get off her cheque, make her own money, be successful. She doesn't know where to start. I'm speaking on her behalf today because in 12 years of trying to better herself no one so far has listened, no one has been willing to help. That's why I'm asking for your help. If any of you can tell us where to begin, can get Marie the medical help she needs, help her find people that can really work with her to learn new skills, please get in touch with me (my contact information is below) or Marie Stewart herself at ***-****.

Whoever here can help us I guarantee will have my vote, no questions asked. The way I see it is if you actually find Marie the help she's been trying for so many years to find you'll have proven to me that you're a candidate who can do what they promise.

Now helping Marie is the most important thing in my life right now. However, I do have political issues of my own I'd also like to see addressed. I produce a "personal news" program on YouTube called The Pedaling Prince's Podium. Myself and Marie both have expressed a few political opinions on the show since it started airing January 1; you might find watching the following episodes interesting (and as Marie makes a personal appearance on the first of these this'll give you a chance to "meet" her, too):

Comments, of course, are welcome (and may also help me decide who to vote for, or even promote on the show ;)). Also, the following playlist, updated every Saturday when a new show airs, lists every episode of the series:

If you like the show, just put that in your bookmarks. :) Also, feel free to share it with anyone you think might want to see it.

Thank you for your attention. Please, if there's anything you can do to help, feel free to contact us any time.
So far I've only gotten a response from one candidate, and that was to point out information on their website pertaining to Marie's situation. While I appreciate the fact that this candidate at least took the time to acknowledge our plea (which is more than the other candidates have done to date) I'm constrained to point out that I said specifically in the original email that I was interested in action from the candidates, not to read information on their websites.

Not that I don't think all of the candidates have some great ideas; they do. However, as I said, there's no way to know how many of these grand, wonderful promises will actually come to fruition once the candidate is in power.

That's why I'm asking for direct assistance for Marie in this matter; the way I see it is if a candidate can actually do something to help her then that candidate will have proven to me that they are also willing and able to make good on the promises made on their party's website. So, as one candidate (you know who you are) at least responded I do appreciate that but it's action we need; we need someone to speak on Marie's behalf whom people will listen to.

Her situation is precarious; she needs immediate help. As things currently stand, she will not be getting her cheque this month; we have no idea where her rent money is going to come from when it's due. We need help finding her financial assistance, whether it be the reinstatement of her cheque, finding her a job she's physically and mentally able to do, or providing the tuition and living expenses she needs to further her education and deal with her medical issues.

So please, I'm asking once again: help us. Get in touch with us ASAP. Whoever can actually do something for her will get my vote and support 100%.

On the other hand, if no one does help, I won't vote at all. Not because I don't want to or don't care but, put simply, if somebody doesn't prove to me that they're actually able to do something to make this country a better place I'll have no idea who to vote for; I'd rather not vote at all than essentially pick randomly and hope I picked the right candidate.

So please, get in touch with us ASAP.

Time is running out.

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