Column: Flying the flag of election paranoia

Anyone else fed up with the federal election yet?

In case you hadn’t noticed — and you’d have to be blind, deaf, a recluse or a Blue Jays fan to not realize — a national election campaign has been running since Aug. 4 and will be the longest in Canadian history by the time the polls open Oct. 19.

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After almost nine weeks of hot air, hollow promises and attack ads, Oct. 19, for me, can’t come quick enough.

It has to be said, I appear to very much be in the minority in this building — given the heated debate taking place in the office kitchen about last night’s all-candidate’s meeting at Richmond Country Club as I write.

But how much more can we take of calling into question Stephen Harper’s choice of tie, what Tom Mulcair has for breakfast or what Justin Trudeau’s hair-stylist said on Facebook 12 years ago about the Tibetan Guinea Pig Appreciation Society of Canada?

Even the 16-year-old girls I coach soccer to have been extracting the proverbial out of the cringeworthy TV ads, quipping “Justin…he’s just not ready,” as they run through their warm-up.

Maybe that’s the goal of the sledgehammer attacks — however insulting to the intelligence they are, we laugh and joke about them, but have they planted a subliminal seed in our little minds?

The ads aside, a guaranteed source of election campaign amusement in any newsroom I’ve frequented in the last 18 years is the accusations of bias and flags of suspicion raised by the public without, it would seem, any attempt to connect the dots.

Just the other day, we received a call from a reader, questioning rather aggressively why we didn’t have a picture and story in Wednesday’s paper of Trudeau visiting Richmond.

“Oh, OK,” was his answer, when it was pointed out that the Liberal leader arrived Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., while the News goes to press at 4:30 p.m. We’re good, but not that good. And, please, if we print 472 words on Jack Trovato and only 471 on Alice Wong, it doesn’t mean we’re riding the “Orange Wave.”

Many years ago, while here at the News, I was being grilled over the phone by an irate supporter of one party (I can’t recall which).

Searching for something to hang her paranoia on, she asked where I was from. When told, Scotland, she said, “That would explain it.” To this day, I still don’t know what she meant. What concerns me the more is that these folks are allowed to vote. Scary, isn’t it?

But, given the alarming decline in voting turnouts, beggars can’t be choosers.

Alan Campbell is a Richmond News reporter. Acampbell@richmond-news.com

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