Who should I vote for?

The question "Who should I vote for?" is oft' heard in these heady days as we near the end of this campaign? Aside from the websites, pamphlets, door-knockers, platform press and myriad other avenues to share ideas, opinions and personal insights, there is ONE SPOT where the voter can get almost anything they need in terms of a solid idea as to who they should support on October 21st or in the advance polls: THE TALKING STICK.
From Wikipedia: The talking stick, also called a speaker's staff, is an instrument of aboriginal democracy used by many tribes, especially those of indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast. The talking stick may be passed around a group or used only by leaders as a symbol of their authority and right to speak in public.
What began in 2010 as a mildly used online forum for candidates to answer a series of questions from citizens has exploded into a platform where hardball questions are being lobbed in great quantities and in rapid succession.  I lost track at the 60-question mark, but I have personally spent hours and hours answering great questions about many issues that often get murmured about in conversation or eluded to on social media, but never seem to reach the light of day.  This somewhat moderated forum - moderated in that the questions need to be approved by somebody at the Chamber - has proven to be an ideal spot to let the elephants in the room.

As a candidate, does it make me sweat, cause my heart to palpitate, raise my anxiety level?  Yes.  It's also helped me lose a little weight, which I truly appreciate!  But I've persevered and answered every single one to the best of my ability.  At least, I thought I was caught up when I went to bed, having answered another one late last night - there are 5 or 6 new ones I will have to tackle later today.

This is a great exercise for both incumbents and hopefuls as each question does a number of different things:
  1. It exposes us to an issue or concern of which we need to be aware
  2. It forces us to think and reflect on how to appropriately and accurately answer the question
  3. It tests the courage of our convictions, as to whether we can hold firm to either a decision we made or an opinion we've espoused, even in the face of a questioner who wants an opposite response
  4. It gives us a small glimpse of the level of scrutiny and accountability we can expect should we be successful
For the voter, THE TALKING STICK is a treasure trove of information that can help sort through the clutter of a large contingent of candidates, especially in Ward One.  My wife Heather had pretty much made up her mind on the slate of candidates she was going to support when I challenged her to test her selections against the answers provided on this online forum.

There is GOLD in The Talking Stick

You get the candidate's straight answer to some pretty tough questions.  In some cases you get an explanation and in others you don't; both reveal plenty.

You discover their proficiency in being able to communicate, articulate a position or idea.

You directly see their true interest in engaging citizens by their commitment to answer the questions openly and honestly; or not.

You instantly see their knowledge, background or awareness of the issue being discussed.  

You get a glimpse of the human being.

Having focused most of my efforts on answering the questions, I haven't taken the time yet to look back at how everyone else has answered or who might be absent from the forum.  But I will, because I am a voter, too.  THE TALKING STICK will be the revealing spot that will help me make the final decision as to who will get my support.

Review all the questions posed and the answers given by clicking here.

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