Editorial: Important to get out and get a feel for the local candidates

This is who you are actually voting for.

The federal election campaign is in full swing, and it sometimes seems like you can’t turn around without smacking into a billboard or an ad.

This can be wearying for voters, but at the same time, it’s important not to turn off. And if you do nothing else, we suggest you read our weekly stories about our local candidates, and that you go to an all-candidates meeting.

While what’s happening at the national level can be interesting and even important, it’s equally if not more important for you to size up our local candidates for the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding. This is who you are actually voting for. Many people tend to look at elections as a chance to vote for the leader of a national party, but in truth, nobody except the voters in their ridings are really doing so. So what are the local candidates like? They are the ones for whom you will cast your ballot. One of them will be representing us in Ottawa.

Yes, an all-candidates meeting is an evening out of your life. But it’s also your best chance to meet all of the candidates, hear from them in person and compare and contrast what they have to say. When you vote, you are being asked to make an important choice. Don’t you think you should be as prepared as possible? NDP incumbent Alistair MacGregor, Conservative candidate Alana DeLong, Liberal candidate Blair Herbert and Green candidate Lydia Hwitsum have dedicated themselves to this campaign. The least we can do is meet them halfway and find out what they think.

There are plenty of opportunities every day until Oct. 21 to find out what the federal platforms are, and each federal leader is making a constant stream of announcements. But it’s harder to find out about the nitty-gritty and suitability of our local hopefuls. We’re hearing all about what the various parties would do for Canada, but what will our local candidates do for our riding? How will they translate those federal platforms into something meaningful at home?

In weekly stories the Gazette is bringing you what the local candidates have to say about what we feel are four key areas: last week they talked environment and climate change, this week they talked economic development, and in the weeks to come they will be asked to discuss health care and children and families. If you missed any of those stories, head to the Federal Election section on the Gazette website and scroll through.

You might just learn something new that influences your choice on election day.

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