Today started out great; it’s not every day I get to harass a politician in person.
Candidate for office Ted Larsen was walking the halls of our apartment building, sliding election propaganda under the doors of residents. There’s no election declared, but he’s out and about lying to people face to face for a change. He was here recently enough, when he tried to run federally in a riding where he didn’t have a chance against strong Liberal and NDP candidates. He’s now trying for a provincial seat. Maybe he’ll run for Halifax mayor next time, then for school board.
I picked up the flier off the floor as I went to take the dog out, and went over to the alleged politician and his young assistant to give them back the litter they dropped outside my door. I pointed out that the building had posted “no soliciting” signs, and asked if they knew what soliciting was, and how they were doing exactly that. Knocking on doors and soliciting votes is little different than selling newspapers or anything tangible door to door.
Maybe this wasn’t really Ted Larsen and his sidekick that were door-knocking – maybe this was a ruse with this pair looking for apartments with big plasma TVs and fancy things that they could come back for later; it’s not like they had ID. Boy Wonder had a list of apartments that he was checking off and writing notes on; I wish I’d taken a closer look at that clipboard to try to determine the origins of this list.
It’s well posted on the doors that soliciting in this private building is not welcome, but Ted had other ideas; he told me flat out that it was perfectly alright for him to be here, freely knocking on doors and distributing his leaflets. He got right up in my face, saying it was perfectly legal for him to do, and I asked him which law permitted him to solicit himself door to door like that. He said it was part of the Elections act that made it acceptable for him to invade any apartment building and knock on tenant doors, and that I should address my concerns with building management.
I asked if he could quote that section of the Elections act that allows him to trespass on private property, but he said that he couldn’t, saying “I don’t know, I’d have to get back to you on that” as he knocked on another door. If you’re doing something and can’t back up the laws you quote as protection for what you’re doing, then you need to STOP, not ‘get back to me.’
I told him that soliciting was soliciting, and that while he could place fliers, door knocking on private property was another issue. He gets right up in my face, inches away, saying something about how he was allowed to do what he wanted, apparently because he’s a politician who doesn’t even have a passing familiarity with the laws that govern elections.
First off, there IS no election called; he’s pre-campaigning for an expected election call, but as this is not an election period, there’s little in the Act that will cover him at the moment. Last I checked, the only coverage for door-to-door soliciting that was covered and protected was that of Elections Canada officials registering voters; and those people had official looking ID, not buttons that say TED LARSEN on them.
I decided that Sera and I would just follow Ted down the hall, as this was a hallway in the building that I live in, and I’m allowed to be here as a function of paying my rent. I’m not doing anything wrong, just walking down the hall and talking to myself.
People that answered the doors were nice enough, shook his hand, and told him how they always vote, etc. This lead me to comment that it was interesting that people would look him right in the eye and lie that they were planning on voting for him already; where would they learn things like that from. Maybe from politicians? Gosh, you’d think that a politician would be able to recognize a lie when he heard it.
I walked along with them, Sera was happy to follow and sit politely to the side. Everything was civil, and the Boy Wonder was outwardly polite, learning how to get along with people that don’t share your ideals, perhaps? Ted, however appeared livid. I have a feeling that he foresaw an entire day with me following him door to door for the remaining 20 floors in the building.
I’m sure it was a relief to him when I did exactly as he suggested and take it up with the building manager’s office. I broke off at the end of the hall, choosing to avoid following him down the stairs lest I be tempted … Instead, I went down to the ground floor by elevator, and happened to see one of the guys in the office wasn’t busy. I stopped and asked regarding the appropriateness of people soliciting door to door, and he was not happy. Oh, he was all too happy that I had come down; he wasn’t happy to hear that someone was door knocking; oh, they can leave fliers under the doors, but no knocking or disturbing the tenants.
I imagine that he enjoys throwing people out of the building who are door knocking. While I don’t know anything about the guys who work in the office, and my straight-man issue gaydar is suspect, I do believe that some of the staff enjoy removing Conservative Party door knockers more than any other sort.
I gave him the details on where to find the pair, and headed off to walk the dog. I thought about it for a second, and decided that I’d LOVE to share an elevator with them and see them walk out of the building. So, Sera and I headed up in the next elevator to see what happened; and we arrived on the 20th floor, just in time to see them being lead out.
We shared an elevator ride down to the lobby, tense only for one of us, and I got to watch their walk of shame as they departed the premises. I’m sure they’ll be back, and I imagine that they think that I’m just some long haired hippy Green Party supporter or something. The thing is, I don’t want any of the parties coming to my door, and that’s why I live in an apartment. In theory, anyhow, because nearly everyone will hold the front door open for anyone else, even if they’re carrying a chainsaw and a net bag full of heads; it’s the polite thing to do.
I checked Ted’s web site, and see that he’s not even a Halifax Local. He’ll never get elected if he’s not a Local – he’s only lived here since 1971, and before that he lived in out west; in New Brunswick. You’re always From Away here, even if you marry into a Local Family, you’re always the one who Came From Away.
He claims to have graduated from Saint Mary’s University, but doesn’t list what degree he earned. He worked as a communications consultant, so I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has a degree in Communications. I’m further guessing he didn’t do so well at it, as he was incapable of answering simple questions when confronted.
The third item on his bullet list bio? He’s a widowed father of three. This isn’t a job qualification or a skill; it required someone else doing the work. Now that I think about it, that might help qualify you for office. She died, but he takes the credit.
Previous job experience includes communications consultant and he also claims to have been a reporter with the Chronicle Herald. I didn’t think anyone would ever admit to writing for that rag, but there it is.
I rememberd just now that Ted never did answer my questions in the emails that I sent him during the federal election regarding the survey on the Visible Government website. He didn’t respond to emails or facebook messages, and I can’t imagine that he answers any of the ~30 people who follow him on Twitter @tedlarson.