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.
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.”
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