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Illustration by Marley Allen-Ash
Just because I was going on a pilgrimage in Spain, I wasn’t going to let that keep me from exercising my democratic right. I have never failed at any opportunity to vote – I have long felt we are obliged to vote (no excuses!) and that we should support the best candidate on the list, the party label is a secondary consideration.
In the fall of 2007, I knew I’d be walking the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route to the possible tomb of Saint James. Previously, I had walked the Camino from the traditional starting point of Saint Jean Pied de Port in the Pyrenees, and found that four weeks’ walking was just enough to unwind. That year, though, I thought it might be interesting to leave from another of the traditional starting points for a seven-week journey. I’d start in Montserrat in the hills above Barcelona, walk over the plains of Catalonia into Aragon, then over the Sierra de Loarre to the high altitude Camino Aragones, then join the more popular Camino Francese route at the town of Puente la Reina, and from there to Santiago. What was wrong with crossing Spain from one end to the other? It sounded great on paper. I had remembered the Camino as being gently rolling valleys and quite forgot about the hilly bits. The effort would be much more than I had expected (never mind my determination to vote in the provincial election held in my absence).
Back in those days, voting by proxy under the Ontario Elections Act was fairly simple, and so I asked a friend and neighbour if she would be my proxy. None of the candidates had been formally announced when I left Canada and it was not clear who would be running nor how they looked once on the hustings – but Wendy’s judgment was solid gold. I told her that she should use my proxy for whom she deemed …….