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‘It made me feel very Canadian’: Metchosin woman takes part in The National’s undecided voter panel

Federal debate fracas divides leaders but connects four voters from across the political spectrum
Metchosin’s Shannon Carman was on CBC’s The National newscast panel to share her perspective as an undecided voter after the English election debate. (Photo courtesy of Shannon Carman)

A Metchosin resident was one of four undecided voters from across Canada invited to watch the English election debate together and share their thoughts during CBC’s The National newscast afterward.

On the debate stage, the five federal leaders tore into each other with partisan punches as they tried to scrounge together every vote they could. But virtually sitting side by side, the four strangers – who voted for four different parties in 2019 – were having a blast as they shared laughs at the leaders’ expense or shared apolitical frustration with the potential prime ministers.

“We all said at the end that it did feel like we’d all been watching it with a bunch of our friends,” Metchosin’s Shannon Carman said. “It made me feel very Canadian.”

As productive policy debate took a back seat to the leaders cutting into each other’s records or apparent promises, Carman said it just reflected the divisive rhetoric that’s helped create what she called a “crisis of agreement.” It fell short of her hope to see an inspired vision for the country come out of the debate.

“That’s sort of why I talked about how I wished there was a leader who was able to tell a story and put forward an idea that really captured everyone’s imagination, heart and emotion,” Carman said. “It was sad to me that I didn’t see that, really, from any of the leaders.”

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She’d like to see leaders be more honest by saying where they think others got it right, before having a constructive, civil conversation on what comes next or alternative routes.

“I think that’s a sign of maturity to say, ‘Yes, I thought your plan here looks good and this is positive and we liked what you did here, but we think you could do better here.’”

Instead, the bickering party heads reminded her of kids playing the blame game over who didn’t do their chores.

That’s why one fleeting moment where the leaders dropped their performative walls stuck with Carman. It came when Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet asked how a phrase translates in English and several leaders chimed in to help.

“It was like this little piece of humanity poking its head above the parapet. I don’t believe that these are terrible people, I believe they all got into politics for the right reasons,” she said.

With less than a week to go, Carman remains undecided and expects her intuition to take over once the names on the ballot are staring back at her. Her indecision isn’t because she doesn’t care, but because she said she’s so passionate about the issues. That said, a candidate who commits to preserving all of the Island’s old-growth forests could be enough to sway her.

“That’s one very close to my heart.”

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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