Candidate on Vacation: A Personal Story

by doconnor

My father had been heavily involved in the NDP since his teenaged years. I believe he was even involved in The Waffle. He had lived in the Provencher riding for decades and had been very active in the riding. He was the president of the riding association and official agent for several candidates.

Finally, after he retired and his kids had move away he got around to becoming to be the candidate himself. It was during the Paul Martin minority, so everyone knew an election could happen at any time.

My father planned a vacation. I remember discussion with him when was the safest time to go to minimize the chance of it conflicting with an election. He choose early January because the House isn’t in session for a few weeks before and after Christmas, so it was a window we knew the government wouldn’t fall. Besides elections are almost always happen in the spring or fall, and never over Christmas.

As it turned out the small window when an election call would interfere with the vacation was when it happened. The election held on January 23, 2006.

My father worked hard during the campaign but he had no problem taking his vacation during the election. It didn’t make the news, although the Yukon Green candidate’s vacation did. Despite being away the NDP increased its vote in the riding more then the party did nationally. He nearly caught up to the Liberal candidate and his old friend, Wes Penner.

Could he have canceled his vacation? Perhaps, but a significant personal cost and inconvenience. We ask candidates to sacrifice at lot to run for office. Do we need to add this to the list?

Could he have not planned a vacation just in case where was an election? Perhaps, but in a minority government all parties and candidates have to be election ready at all times. There is no period that is guaranteed to be election free. Should a candidate put their life on hold for years waiting for an election, especially when they have little chance of winning?

Could he have quit and let someone else run? Perhaps, but with is experience and the respect he had earned over the years, another candidate probably couldn’t have done any better even with an extra week to campaign.

How many other candidates for all parties have taken vacations during their campaigns that haven’t made the news? Probably quite a few. This is only coming up now because of the unprecedented explosion of popularity of the NDP in Quebec turning many no-hope candidates into real contenders literally overnight.

We shouldn’t expect candidates to be in campaign mode 100% of the time. If fact they would be much better candidates if they weren’t.

"Candidate on Vacation: A Personal Story" was published on April 30th, 2011 and is listed in Politics.

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Candidate on Vacation: A Personal Story: 2 Comments

  1. janfromthebruce wrote,

    thank you for writing that piece. I so enjoyed reading it and also enjoyed reading about your Dad. He sounded like a hell of a guy. I so enjoyed reading about him. Thanks for letting a stranger take a peek into your personal life and writing from the heart!


  2. Ben wrote,

    I live in Provencher now, and my dad is still the official agent for the party here. I actually doubt you could find a replacement candidate, we’ve been dragging them out of the woodwork for a few years now, and even if one could be found, they couldnt do nearly as well. But the party lives on, and our campaign, spirited and futile as always, continues to grow.


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Darwin O'Connor | doconno@gmail.com