Cynicism reins
Search for something new continues

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 16/97) - Nothing's changed except for some of the faces.

That was the general sentiment of a small sampling of people who attended Wednesday night's all candidates meeting at Northern United Place.

"It's almost as if I'm reassured that it's the same old same old," said George Jacobson. "I think people are just tired, very tired of nicely packaged politics."

"They all have the same line," said another. "They're all so scripted."

Most of the enthusiasm demonstrated by the 70 people who attended the three-hour debate came from those involved in each campaign. And yet -- though the rest may not have been stomping their feet and yelling -- some minds were moved.

One woman who would not give her name said she was a little closer to voting NDP than she was before the meeting.

"I was quite impressed with Levan," she said. "I thought Ethel Blondin-Andrew was pretty much staying within Liberal opinion. I don't think the PC candidate knows where he's going, he has no idea of political issues here."

For some, there was only one issue -- credibility.

"The big thing that was on my mind when I was sitting there was 'What can I believe?' " said Mark Heyck.

"We've had Mulroney and free trade, Chretien and the GST -- one of the candidates said you can't run government with recall," he said, referring to the Reform Party proposal to allow constituents to fire MPs who don't live up to their promises. "I don't think enough trust exists to run government without it."

A Mildred Hall school teacher said the meeting confirmed her decision to vote NDP.

"My mind was made up. I was going to vote for the candidate and I was glad to see she was as strong as she was."

Norma, a federal government employee who did not want her last name used for fear of reprisal, said she was leaning toward what she saw as the only alternative.

"The PCs had it, the Liberals had it, let's really change it and do Reform."

Though generally unimpressed with the meeting, Jacobson said there was one candidate that appealed to him.

"What we all need is a little laughter, and I think that's what Wally brought tonight."