– The Year I Voted –

Tuesday Newfoundland welcomed the first elected female Premier of our province.

2011 became the first year that I cast a ballot in a Provincial or Federal Canadian election.  This may seem rather odd considering I am a 25 year-old graduate of journalism.  The truth is I really couldn’t see the benefit or detriment of voting for either candidate up until now.  I still had the stereotypical, childish view that all the parties are the same it’s just different names and faces.

I didn’t really feel the need to vote federally because it was basically already decided long before polls opened.  Between the original ABC campaign to subsequent elections this riding would be Liberal. I did not feel the obligation to be another number solidifying Liberal dominance.

Provincial is quite the same.  Danny Williams made the whole province see blue, and truth be told if I was going to vote I would’ve voted PC .  Of course for me to admit this with the expectation that my family will read this is a bit nerve-racking.  I come from a very liberal family.

… Family is what sparked this post.

10 years ago an interest in politics started when I heard Danny Williams address the province.  The charismatic leader was a masterful wordsmith.  With his presentation and intelligence the man took the trust of the Newfoundland & Labrador people and ran with it never faltering until his resignation last year.

Kevin Aylwayd, Newfoundland Liberal Leader

Fast forward to 2011, I get a phone call from my parents asking if I am going to go to the Holiday Inn for Kevin Aylward’s meet and greet.  Aylward was named the new leader of the Liberal Party.

At that moment I instantly thought that this is not something I should have been surprised. Considering my field, I really should have been aware of this long before that phone call.

I decided to go and see what Aylward had to say.  It was that night I realized that this would be the year I finally voted.

There’s a particular sentiment that caught my attention.  Aylward made a claim that this election they will do things differently.  His platform would not simply be a bunch of candidates standing on a soap box telling us what we need and what is good for us. He said their campaign will be more about listening to what the people are asking for, and doing what they must to get the job done.

It isn’t so much the words that caught me, it was how they were spoken.  I have not felt that sensation from a political speech from anyone other than Danny Williams.  I saw a lot of the same charisma and natural leadership qualities emanating from Aylward.  It isn’t something I could find in the other party leaders.  I’ve watched them speak, I’ve heard what they said and was left underwhelmed.

Lorraine Michael may have received my vote if I was at gun point and had to vote.  NDP have seem to become the voice of the younger generation.  The politically minded 18-27 year old friends and colleagues that I know have shown me two things: The younger people are starting to get involved in the political scene and being politically aware, and a lot of them are tired of the same old parties.  PC’s and Liberals have been back and forth for many generations, a lot of like-minded younger constituents are wondering what the NDP can offer.

Of course this was before that night at the Holiday Inn that secured my Liberal vote this year.

I was hesitant about making a politically charged post, the last thing I want to do is be pigeon-holed into the role of supporter of a single party, especially considering that Aylward is my first cousin. My political thoughts and decisions are usually based on what each particular group plan to do and have done.  Right now  believe the province would benefit a great deal with Kevin Aylward at the helm.

I did not expect anything short of a PC victory in this past election.  The Liberal leadership changed hands less than 2 months before election day.  I congratulate the Liberals on regaining the opposition and I implore everyone to keep your eyes on the House of Assembly in the next four years.  I’m willing to bet if you do you will come to see what I am talking about when it comes to Aylward’s presence.

Liberal government in 2015?  Maybe in the next four years if the people realize that Dunderdale is a far-cry from Williams, it can happen.

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