About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Update on Election Coverage and An Open Letter

So when this election thing got underway, I was less than enthused. April is possibly the worst time for an election for me because there's a tremendous number of events and activities I'm involved in and a number of demands on my limited time, such as it is. Still, I seemed to have found myself diving headlong into the 2011 Federal Election, posting once or twice a day, looking at the angles and the issues. You win election. I'll do your bidding. 
Just a quick update on candidate interviews. I've already had a sit down with John Lawson of the Green Party, and I hope to post our interview in the next couple of days for your reading and listening pleasure. (For the lazy, snippets from all interviews will be posted in upcoming "Guelph Beat" columns in Echo Weekly.) Coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, I will be interviewing Bobbi Stewart and Frank Valeriote, respectively. 
So who's the odd man out? Yes, Marty Burke's staff have yet to get back to me about scheduling an interview with him. I, of course, realize that a candidate's time is not an open buffet where we can pick and chose the time and place for a sit down, face-to-face interview. One must be flexible and "roll with it," as they say. But this is the second Federal Election where I've felt like I was being skirted by the Conservative candidate, and I'd like to present the following open letter:

Dear Mr. Burke and Campaign Staff,
My name is Adam Donaldson and I'm the writer of the "Guelph Beat" column in Echo Weekly and writer of the Guelph Politico blog. Pursuant to my earlier e-mail request, I would like to do an interview with Conservative candidate Marty Burke for my coverage of the 2011 Federal Election.
I know political candidates in the election season are incredibly busy with a variety of events and debates to pursue, not to mention the one-on-one campaigning of "getting out there" and meeting the people. I would again like to say that my availability at the moment is flexible enough so that I can most likely meet with Mr. Burke at the time and place of his choosing. 
I certainly hope to be able to meet with Mr Burke and have a proper interview. In the 2008 election, I was extremely disappointed with the time I got from the Conservative candidate. Where as I met both the Liberal and NDP candidates in their homes, and the Green Party candidate in his campaign office, for intervals ranging from 30 minutes to an hour, I got approximately 15 minutes of phone time with the Conservative candidate. 
This was after I had sent a request via e-mail, only to have the candidate call me one random Thursday morning, without notice, as I was coming home from Stratford on the VIA train. When I asked to arrange a different time, the candidate said she'd get back to me, only to phone out of the blue the next Thursday morning to see if that was a good time. Though I was at home in my pajamas, I had nonetheless prepared for this possibility and conducted the interview despite the surprise and the time limitation.
I say this not to shame anyone in the Conservative campaign, but to merely draw a comparison. Though I am a freelance journalist and a blogger, I had an excellent rapport with three of the four major campaigns, and seemed to be given a trifle by the fourth. I hope this time is the exception because I'm disdainful of rash generalizations and partisan politics. I want the field of candidates to get equal time and equal treatment, and while I realize that some of the positions I've taken in the past, or perhaps the readership I appeal to, may be to the left of the political spectrum, I hope you don't think that means I will ply Mr. Burke with partisan attacks and a bunch of "gotcha" questions. If it will assuage your fears at all, I extend this peace offering: a picture of Michael Ignatieff looking like The Joker from Batman. 

But in all seriousness, I look forward to hearing from you and talking to Mr. Burke about the issues important to him and how as our Member of Parliament he might best serve the people of Guelph.

Adam A. Donaldson

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