Skip to content

Competing political lawn signs won’t divide Central Saanich couple

Opposing views welcomed after 56 years of marriage
While voting for different candidates in this year’s federal election, Hazel and Ed Widenmaier of Central Saanich won’t let politics get in the way of their 56 years of marriage. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

A Central Saanich couple, married for 56 years and residents of Wallace Drive since 1977, offers a measure of hope that politics do not need to be divisive.

The couple, Hazel and Ed Widenmaier, find themselves on the opposite, somewhat surprising, ends of the political spectrum, with Ed supporting incumbent MP Elizabeth May and Hazel supporting Conservative challenger David Busch.

Also running in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands are federal candidates Liberal Sherri Moore-Arbour, New Democrat Sabina Singh, David Hilderman of the People’s Party of Canada, and Dock Currie of the Communist Party of Canada.

This tension, if you can call it so, reveals itself on the couple’s lawn as only several feet separate Busch’s dark-blue sign from May’s green one.

Notably, the Widenmaiers came to their respective positions like so many Canadian voters have done in the past – they changed their minds, true to the old adage that the only inconsistent Canadian voters are the consistent ones.

A long-time veteran with service stints abroad, Ed had voted for Tories for most of his adult life before switching his vote to May for environmental reasons. In fact, Ed has a personal history with May, having driven her in one of his many Cadillacs during various parades.

RELATED: Election 2021: Who are your Greater Victoria candidates?

As for Hazel, she has voted for May in the past and described her as a fighter.

“She has done lots for the riding,” Hazel said. But this year, she is casting her vote for Busch, after he had stopped by the house. “I like what he said,” she said in explaining her reasoning. “He is young. He is enthusiastic. He listened to what I said and what my concerns are.”

It was this encounter that led her to put up one of his lawn signs. Ed’s May sign appeared soon after when her campaign approached him.

The couple talks about politics — Hazel says Ed does most of the talking — but their disagreements never get personal with both welcoming their differences.

“This is a modern house,” Hazel said. “I want to vote for whoever I want.”

Ed added, “It’s good that we are independent.”

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
Read more