I have tried three times now to record a podcast on my 2019 year in review. I have spent over an hour already and all three attempts were failures. I am now resorting to writing a blog post instead which I hope to record into a podcast episode before the weekend.
2019 was, overall, not the best year it could have been for me and I had hoped that this review of it would be more upbeat but I fear it will be overshadowed by all of the negative things that happened and continue to shadow me into 2020.
Let us begin with a couple things that I did not do during the past couple weeks.
There are two customs that I have done every year for the last couple decades that I did not do this year. The first was the tradition, customs, rituals I guess they are rather where I would lay on the floor and look up into the branches of my Christmas tree, no matter how small, at the various lights and decorations. While I did set up a tree it sat high up on a shelf making it impossible to lay beneath to perform this ritual. I have done it many years since I was a kid, yes, even as an adult, so to not do it this year was unusual, but I did not over think it. It was something different that I tried to start with my daughter, I think I might have done it one year or maybe two before I asked her mother for a divorce.
A second ritual was to welcome in the new year. This is one that was started by my mother way back in the eighties. When the ball dropped and the new year began, she would get up and go to the door, open it up, and no matter how cold it was she would welcome in the new year. I think I was in my early teens when she started this ritual and I carried it with me throughout life. I did it everywhere, Ontario, Ohio, Alberta, even up in Nunavut. I did it last year, albeit a couple hours later than midnight, I think. I seemed to remember watching a movie that took me past midnight and into the new day. This year, however, I did not perform the ritual. I felt, I don’t know, I felt like it was time to shed all the old rituals and routines and try heading in a new direction.
I am not in the celebratory mood really these days it seems. 2019 was a hard year and it continues to haunt me as I mentioned above. There were several life events I should write about that spread across 2019 like a spider web, each time I felt I was passed something another thread caught me up again, some of the good and some of them bad.
My eyes, that is to say, my physical vision, my car accident, again, my nomination as a candidate, and, my diagnosis. Each of these things lasted several months and affected my life greatly in many ways. The first and last listed are something that I will discuss another day because it is still going on and will not be resolved for a couple months, and even then, it will never be completely over with and that is my physical vision and the diagnosis.
So, let me talk about my car accident first. It was June 24 and I was driving home, at dusk, from a meeting down in Goderich. I had recently been selected as a candidate for the People’s Party of Canada in the riding of Huron-Bruce and I was meeting with my new official agent. I was driving my 2005 Dodge Durango that I affectionately referred to as Cassie the Red Bull back up 21.
There was a light rain in the air and the sun had pretty much set below the horizon giving the sky that pre-dark blue gray tint. I made it up to the bend near Nile Road when suddenly there was a flash out of the ditch to my right and a young deer, a yearling, collided with the front of my truck. I was only going about eighty at the time, but it still made a terrible sound, a witness nearby said it sounded like a tire blew out on a passing car. I could hear a grinding sound and scraping as the deer went from the front of my truck and was thrown off to the left spinning away on the asphalt. I managed to control my braking and bring the truck safely to a stop at the side of the highway.
I could hear the engine hissing and straining to keep going and I turned it off just in case there was a risk of a fire starting. I turned on my four way emergency flashers and got out of the truck. A vehicle approached from a nearby house and the driver got out to see if I was okay. He had heard the collision. What transpired next was the way I tell people you can tell who your good friends are and why I dropped CAA as soon as I had the chance to.
The first thing I did was to call the police to report the accident as it was clear from the damage that my truck wasn’t going to make it home. I called the insurance company, CAA, to report the accident. Of course, CAA was completely useless, and I had no insurance coverage – basic liability only. Next, I called roadside assistance, which was, again, CAA. I struggled for several minutes trying to describe where the accident was so they could send a tow truck. To be honest now I can’t remember if it was the insurance agency or the roadside assistance but the person on the phone was not helpful and I had to hand the phone to my friends (who had arrived from over half an hour away) to talk to the dispatch agent.
It is bad enough when you are in an accident than to answer a whole pile of questions that can easily be answered by the person sitting on their butt in an office by looking at a damn map. Even the police officer got on the radio to get a tow truck if CAA couldn’t get it done. I remember the officer was surprised at how incompetent they were in getting the roadside assistance to me efficiently. He waited at the accident scene to make sure they arrived to take the truck away and back to Kincardine (close to home) as opposed to Goderich which was an hour away.
And now you would think that this accident would be where the nightmare began for me on that fateful evening in June, but you would be wrong. No, it began when I requested that my car be towed to, what I thought was, a reputable garage in Kincardine. I had my truck towed there the night of June 24 and the real drama of this accident began a couple days later.
The first was, though short lived, the fact that the insurance company wasn’t about to pay for the towing to Kincardine because I had liability only on the vehicle. I talked to the tow truck driver and told him, and he just said “don’t worry about it” that he would take care of it and I wouldn’t be billed. I mean seriously. I spent literally thousands of dollars on insurance and roadside assistance with CAA and, for the second time, they had fraked me over. Oh, but their level of ignorance gets even worse which I’ll tell you about a little later.
The collision repair shop came back with a quote for several thousand dollars but when I told him that the insurance company wasn’t going to cover it and perhaps I should just have it towed home, after a couple calls and emails, he came back with a quote around $1,800. Since I figured the truck was worth $2,500 even in poor condition, I accepted the lower quote with the understanding that it wouldn’t take more than about a week to make the repairs.
I don’t want to go into all of the drama involved, but let’s just say after losing ten days pay, and having a rental car (which the garage footed the bill for) for a month I finally forced them to finish the work on the truck. I lost a potential $2,500 bid on the truck and ended up selling it for $500 just to keep it from going to the scrap yard. It was worth about $3,500, repaired, according to its’ blue book value. But by that point I was several thousand in the red and had to buy a new car, which I got almost two weeks before the truck was finally repaired and sunk several thousand into that deal as well.
In the end I finished with a loss of about $5,000 but at least I had a new to me car with a hell of a lot better gas mileage and less things to break, or should I say less expensive things to break. I did just break off the antenna on a very cold day, and the rear wiper wiring harness needs replaced, but I can survive without the rear view for now and thanks to Spotify I don’t even need the radio. It still gets one station even with the broken antenna though but the music on that station usually sucks.
All tolled that was my June through into August, but the good thing to come out of it was a station wagon that gets much better gas mileage which proved to be invaluable when it came to driving all over the riding for my election campaign. And, as it turned out, the person who bought the truck was going to store it over the winter, but their vehicle broke down the same week they took possession of my old truck. They are now driving my old truck for the winter which proved to be a wise decision anyways given the all-wheel four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control capabilities of the truck, perfect for winter driving conditions.
So, in the end all of the drama associated with the accident and the aftermath did end on a positive note, I guess.
Next, and taking place around the same time as my car accident, was my application, nomination and eventual endorsement officially as a candidate representing the People’s Party of Canada.
The first real mention of our party in Huron-Bruce would have been the article by the Kincardine Record back on March 26, 2019. It was announcing our official forming of our Electoral District Association. I wrote the article and the news re-wrote it into interview format. It was the first and only coverage we would get until June.
When I applied as a candidate, I did not think I would be endorsed. I had been out of politics for some time and my recent comments online were filled with personal bias. I remember receiving a phone call from Headquarters. They talked to me about my application, my experience in politics and questions about what platform issues I was most concerned with. I got an email a short time later that my application had been accepted.
The next article was by the Record again, announcing my acclamation as the People’s Party of Canada federal candidate. It was written June 9 and used a media release I had written as the source. I wonder how many candidates start our as I did with humble articles drafted by themselves. I guess it is a good thing I write articles on a regular basis eh.
I don’t mind, I wish I could do it more often. The next was my campaign launch article which has been re-published and even quoted from by another candidate. That was back on September 19, 2019. As time moved forward, bringing a quick end to summer, we moved into the debates portion of my campaign. The first debate was in Goderich on September 25.
Overall Justin said that I did okay at the debate. I clearly fumbled on the foreign policy question near the end. No one approached me after, oh wait, one guy did, but not the media or other members of the audience. I looked good, at least, writing down a lot of notes. I ended the speeches, the debate rather, with a speech on democracy. It was devoid of any real substance but to an NDP/Liberal leaning audience it did not really matter what I said.
A week later I was the Saugeen Shores debate at The Plex in Port Elgin. I did not like the open mic format. Climate change came up at least four times in questions even though the audience was reminded to try and ask different questions.
It would be interesting to note that our of about twenty people who came to the mic, less than 25 percent were actually concerned with climate change. I got a couple decent pictures of me from the Bayshore article but the most detailed reporting came from the Saugeen Shores hub, and, Shoreline Beacon News. The good thing is that Post Media owns them so the story will no doubt be picked up and shared.
RogersTV had a Meet the Candidates video segment. I was first and I spoke about Canada and summarized our platform. I wish could download it somehow. I think I did okay with it. I looked at my speech a lot but at least I did not tell people how they were tired of mudslinging and then sling mud at the Conservative candidate like Allan Thompson, Liberal, did.
I wrote answers to questions posed by the Kincardine Independent, I think they were publishing them some time that week but I never did get to read it. It helped with my exposure to the small business class in the central riding.
We held several meetings over the past year and near the end of the campaign we had “meet the candidate” gatherings in Goderich and Kincardine. I am a bit disappointed we dd not have a meeting or enough exposure over Walkerton way. And not attending debates in Teeswater or Holmesville probably did not help my campaign.
I volunteered to drop off some campaign material at a school in Clinton early in the afternoon of the 10th. I then had to go to another strategy meeting in Goderich that evening, so I did not make it to the Holmesville debate. I had a call from a supporter early in the day, and a call from one the day before. And, on the 10th, someone just approached my at the beach because they saw the signs in my car. We sat and talked for a few minutes about the election and the importance of Canadians to get out and vote.
It is coincidence perhaps, that after the phone call earlier in the day, I looked to the heavens and told god how I needed to be a Member of Parliament not for personal gain but to save our nation. And then along comes someone at random who supports our fight for Canada and mentioned the need for god in our lives at least half a dozen times.
It was just a couple days before the election and breaking news dropped a bomb on the Scheer camp. Allegedly, Andrew Scheer and Hamish Marshall hired the Warren Kinsella Foundation to discredit Bernier and paint the PPC as racists. I did not see any of that before because Kinsella blocked me months ago after I called him out on something Frank Vaughan brought up as a false story that Kinsella supporter. If I remember correctly. Kinsella blocking me bothered me about as much as Michelle Rempel blocking me did which is to say not at all.
I think it was about a week before the election, perhaps even just a few days, that I did an interview in Goderich for a local production company. I wonder if the links to all of these still work on my personal website. I will have to check them some day soon when I have time.
As you know, the PPC, Maxime Bernier, and I, lost the election. I did have an impressive showing though of 1,102 votes or 1.8 percent of the votes. Not bad for a nobody from a new Party who spent only about $3,500 or so on the campaign.
So that sums up a couple of the events of my 2019, I will have to save the story of my vision for another day because it is very late and I need to get something into print on my website.