At polling stations, voters grumble about mudslinging in campaign

Voters casting ballots in Greater Victoria on Monday voiced their displeasure at the mudslinging and squabbling they saw during this election campaign.

“Frankly, I was surprised by the nastiness I witnessed,” said Shannon Hryhoryshen, 61. “I just ignored a lot of it.”

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Hryhoryshen was voting at Cloverdale Traditional School, where a steady stream of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke voters was undeterred by Monday’s steady drizzle.

Cliff Riley, 65, called some parts of the campaign akin to a catfight.

“Although I found the televised debates helpful, I usually take whatever a politician says with a grain of salt,” he said.

Donna Dynes, who is in her 70s, said she appreciated the televised debates, even if the message was somewhat confusing at times. “Justin [Trudeau] didn’t do himself justice this time. He should have clarified himself — but didn’t.”

Dynes said she voted based on both the local candidate and the federal party she wanted to support. “This time my candidate fit both — which is unusual for me.”

Voting at Tillicum Elementary School, Karen Clifford, 60, said she didn’t like the constant interruptions during the debates.

“It was like witnessing a recess at school. I seem to recall previous elections being a lot more civil.”

Clifford was voting with her daughter, Jennifer Lybbert, who was participating in her first federal election.

“If politicians argue like this all the time, I’m not looking forward to my next election campaign,” said the 30-year-old.

Lybbert admits that her vote was probably influenced by her mother, but she took the time to do her own research to pick a candidate. She chose to vote by party, not the local candidate.

She also would support electronic voting — as long as Elections Canada can guarantee its security. “I am all for it, if it gets more people voting.”

Gudrun Sabrina Hirt, who was also at Tillicum Elementary, voted for the Green candidate because of what she sees as that party’s environmentally friendly and progressive policies. “No one notices those under the poverty line,” said the 37-year old, who is the primary caregiver for her 35-year-old brother Cody, who uses a wheelchair. “I believe the Green party displays more idealism and offers more help for children and single mothers.”

There was a lot of talk during the campaign about attracting younger voters. But many of them weren’t impressed with what they saw. “Nobody seemed to be talking about their strengths. What I heard was a lot of bad-mouthing at the end of the day,” said Albert Chou, 29, who was also casting his ballot at Tillicum Elementary. “I would have liked to have heard more about the campaign.”

Chou said he did not see the parties as being engaged with younger voters.

“When I was on social media — Facebook or YouTube — all I would see were attack ads.”

Rosalie Stevenson, 30, who was voting at Cloverdale Traditional School, said while she was irritated by the attacks, she “just tried to ignore the hate in this election — it just felt un-Canadian.”

“It was super simple for me. I voted for [the NDP] because I think [Jagmeet Singh] is such a cool dude.”

parrais@timescolonist.com

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