Hodgepodge: Time to do your duty

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Hodgepodge: Time to do your duty

By Charlie Hodge.

Time to do your duty.

Time to stand up and be counted.

If you care about this country or even just your neighbourhood then do the right thing.

If you have any respect for war veterans, perhaps even long lost relatives from the past, then do not wait until November 11 to show it – get off your butt on Oct. 21 and prove it. Get out and vote.

All my life I’ve maintained the most effective way of honouring veteran soldiers who placed their lives on the line is to actually exercise our right to vote. My uncle lost his life in Italy so I could have a free vote, a right of opinion, a choice of religion, and the ability to read and write what my heart believes. Without men such as my uncle, or my grandfather who left parts of himself on Vimy Ridge, I would not have the right to vote.

Remembrance Day is a valuable and meaningful day – however voting day is when the rubber meets the road. Voting is a paramount gesture of thanks for infinity. There is no better way to honour them for what they did than to vote. There is no greater insult than to not vote.

Obviously Kelowna resident Patricia Giannelia shares my view. A letter to the editor recently appeared in various locations including Castanet stating why she was thankful for Thanksgiving dinner in Canada. “I am thankful yet again to my parents for coming to Canada, and the sacrifices they made so that my siblings and I could build solid, hopeful lives here.

“I am thankful for the privilege to debate and argue openly, and to vote safely and fairly.

“I am thankful to those who came before and worked tirelessly to bring about this privilege for all Canadians. We carry all of these gifts in earthen vessels, and it is easy to take them for granted, yet there are so many with whom we share this planet who can only dream of what we take as naturally as breathing.

“May each of us give thanks for and exercise our vote on Oct. 21, for we vote not only for ourselves, but also for all those around the world who do not yet have this privilege.”

Well said Patricia.

By now many Canadians have had just about enough of hearing from Liberal Justin Trudeau, Conservative Andrew Scheer, NDP Jagmeet Singh, Green Party Elizabeth May, People’s Party of Canada Maxime Bernier, and Bloc Québécois Yves-François Blanchet and their promises. Hopefully they have also listened or learned about their local party representatives Federal and Provincial politics are an interesting game (did someone say boggling and/or frustrating?). Some voters are adamant about voting for the party, others vote for the party leader they most trust, while many voters also make their decision on voting for their regional representative – in this case their Member of Parliament.

In my riding I have a choice between Stephen Fuhr or Tracy Gray.

I openingly admit to not being a fan of party politics no matter what league. I have never joined a political party in my life until this year when I joined the Conservatives for the sole purpose of voting for Gray to represent our riding in the local Conservatives. I would have joined the People Who Like Purple (or almost any other party) if it meant supporting Gray. Now that she is in I will not renew my membership. Back to no party memberships for me.

I can say that because I spent four years sitting right next to Gray at the Kelowna City Council table as a councillor. It was a honour and pleasure to work with her. In my four terms in civic politics I can honestly say I have met few, if any, as bright, articulate, focused or honest as Tracy.

Gray will not be bullied or bamboozled. She truly cares about people and is not only a good listener but more than able to debate or stand up for what she believes in and not worried about who that may mean standing up against. Tracy Gray is the complete package.

I know and very much like Stephen Fuhr and believe he has done a very decent job. Sadly I cannot support his boss again though.

Liberals and Conservatives have been sharing the lead in popularity since the current race began and it will go down to the wire on October 21. The NDP are also making lots of noise. No matter who you wish to support it is most important that you simply exercise your right.

Make sure you have a say and do the right thing. Vote.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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