by Dale Shudra
My political journey is over. It began in late November when I announced I would seek the Conservative nomination to replace a retiring Jim Abbott. It ended with the difficult decision I could not successfully meet the recently announced contest rules and abridged schedule.
The four-month journey was eventful on many levels.
On a personal level I had to deal with the loss of my father and my mother being moved to an assisted-care facility.
On an intellectual level it was almost issue overload. It’s a healthy, yet trying, exercise to push deep and first clarify, then articulate your position on diverse issues.
On a social level it was rewarding to meet an array of interesting people throughout the riding. Students, business leaders and retirees. Political novices, political junkies and politically apathetic. Like sports and the weather, everyone has an opinion on politics; some more colourful than others.
I encountered a range of emotions. Optimism, exasperation, sadness, disappointment, nervousness, calm, frustration, empathy and satisfaction. Moments of doubt and moments of certainty. Disabling grief and slivers of recovery.
Welcome relief. Two weeks in Costa Rica to attend a destination wedding and recharge for the final push. Returning to discover the contest had begun with an abridged schedule. The realization I could not proceed. Frustration and relief. The demise of some plans, formulating new plans and the revisiting of old plans.
The most perplexing experience? Having a discussion with young Cranbrook professionals who expressed frustration selling memberships as their friends had absolutely no interest in politics. Contrast this with radio reports on the drive home where Egyptian protestors were “prepared to die for democracy”.
It was a rewarding journey I will not forget. I had the privilege to humbly present myself to strangers and receive their opinions, referrals or support. I sincerely thank all who shared the journey. I regret that I did not accomplish more for the riding and the country, but who knows what the future brings.
I started this campaign with an article aptly titled “Politics Matter” and I still believe they do. If you are a member of the Conservative Party, you will have a chance to vote for a nomination candidate later this month. I wish all the contestants well. There is a good chance the March budget will be followed by a general election. Please fulfill your democratic duty and vote.