I offer apologies to my grandmother. When grandad said, “We go tonight or we never go,” she agreed to leave Siberia for Moscow on the hope of obtaining exit visas—even though she was seven months pregnant and had already endured two stillbirths.
In those last months of 1929 they boarded a train with a newborn (my father) and a 5 year-old not knowing their fate. Propelled by hope toward the West, religious freedom and democracy they escaped mere weeks before Stalin closed the borders in December of 1929.
All her life Anna had nothing but gratitude for the Government of Canada which accepted her family. She never stopped expressing her thanks for the ability to vote.
Now, going to the polls again I struggle to reconcile my freedom, responsibility and ennui with the sacrifice she made or the benefit I own because of it. Whatever my politics, whether I like it or not, the people of Canada gave the Conservative Party a minority mandate. The parties that brought the government down on contempt seem to have forgotten their own tainted, contemptible history. Call it what it is: a power grab. One for which they are prepared to cobble a coalition from a clown school if they don’t come by it at the polls.
Yes, I will cast my ballot. As I make my choice, I am determined to take a lesson from my grandmother and practise gratitude. Though the privilege for which Anna risked (and won) so much might seem a travesty—a less than desirable selection from parties I mistrust—it beats the alternatives.