Kacper Niburski

Assistant News Editor

 

This was supposed to be a news article. It was supposed to be factual, cutting edge stuff.

As far as a journalist is allowed to admit, I was bent to join your cause, Donna Skelly. I felt that if I could only tell the story right, then you’d surely have a chance of winning the riding of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale (AFDW) as the Progressive Conservative candidate. To be quite frank, I truly did want to represent you. I really did. Believe it.

But when you failed to come to the All-Candidates debate, when you disregarded the repeated attempts to establish contact, and when you agreed to policies such as the Niagara-GTA highway that will destroy much of the farmland in your riding, I had but one choice.

My choice, readers, this is the truth: if it’s smelly, it must be Skelly.

As a television broadcaster for 22 years, don’t let her TV personality delude you. Behind that wide smile, those caked-on features and a pair of brown beady eyes is a woman who joined the ballot late April 2011. To do so, though, wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was what most people are like off camera: ugly.

The beginning of Donna Skelly’s political career was no different. It was nothing short of a knife fight.

Before Donna represented the AFDW riding, there was Chris Corrigan. A man of valor and bravery, Chris was a retired army colonel and an Associate and Director with a Toronto-based corporation, Forrest & Company. On top of that, he was a frequent lecturer at McMaster University and a supporter of student’s alike. Whether under machine gun fire or over corporate meetings, Chris was a tested, and most importantly, a proven leader. He did what he had to do, and he did it well.

Then, we have Donna. No war. No corporate grit. Just makeup, cameras and reading lines someone else wrote for her; a puppet, nothing more.

But I get it. I really do. Donna has the glitz and glamour of the television on her side. Chris doesn’t. She has the looks. Chris doesn’t. She is relatable to blue-collar families. Chris isn’t. It’s obvious.

Why have a sacrificial lamb when you can have a glamour pony?

And like a pony would have, Donna galloped onto the political stage. Soon she became the moneymaker and the rent payer, receiving plenty of funding from various sources. Unlike Chris, she had a chance of winning. That was why she was chosen. She was supposed to be the Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Ronald Reagan of the AFDW riding. In short, her success was almost guaranteed; she was a star. All one had to do was connect the dots of her constellation.

But even a star explodes. When it does, its light shines back at us like a reminder of what could have been. Donna is, and was, no different.

As voters, we gaze upon Donna – the supposed star – and what we see back is not a source of light, but an empty darkness of the political variety. While she was wrapped in being a local celebrity – and milking that prestige for what it’s worth – we were stuck on Earth left only to stargaze. Up there, she remains, and up there, she has forgotten us – she has forgotten the people she promises to represent.

I say this for three reasons. The first is that she parachuted into the election in an undemocratic process on the back of a legitimate candidate, without an opportunity for party members to even vote. Then she supported various policies, the most notable the Niagara-GTA highway, which will pave highways into the rural farmland for which the riding is known. Then, most recently and most troubling, she failed to address the youngest of her riding – the students, the generation that will be affected by any policy she chooses.

Although she describes herself as “a mother of two, who knows the challenges facing families today,” she is far from them. She can very well discuss the rising tuition as a problem that affects her and her children, but she failed to put her words into action. She did not show up for the debate. She did not let her voice allay the students’ worries and anxieties in an unsure world. There were no words of wisdom, no promises of hope. Instead, an empty chair replaced her.

It did all the talking she ever could.

 

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