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With All Their Tricks and Treats, How on Earth Do I Vote?

10/16/2015 05:18 EDT | Updated 10/16/2016 05:12 EDT
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, from left, Thomas 'Tom' Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, stand for a photograph prior to the second leaders' debate in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. The debate pits Harper and his Conservative Party's program of tax cuts and spending restraint against the Liberal Party's Trudeau who is pledging to raise taxes on the highest earners and Mulcair of the New Democratic Party who advocates increasing levies on corporations. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's not the giveaways. It's the values!

In the last 10 weeks I've ridden the election roller-coaster. 'Yes' to him. Oops, now that's a 'No'. Now, there's a good idea. Oh dear, now that I think it through, no... not so good. Yes, 'he' seems like the Prime Minister I want. Mmmm, no. What was I thinking?

Remember the day after Halloween when you were a kid? Yes, our pillowcases full of candy were in our parent's bedroom, but I got to them. And ate... and ate. By dinner I was too full of sugar to look at meat loaf and carrots. Too many giveaways, and I ate them all.

If I try to make my decision on each party's giveaways, I feel similarly sick. The side-by-side comparison of all these giveaways gives some clarity, but these are just promises, with no guarantee of landing in my hands. There will inevitably be the old saw: 'We didn't realize how bad it was.'

I've got to go back to how I manage my own life.

There's a concept called your 'Legacy Letter' in the book 'Legacies aren't (just) for dead people'. It's a concept of describing your values and how you lived them. If you're hit by a rampaging herd of water buffalo tomorrow, your family will have your powerful Legacy - a clear description of what was important to you and how you lived your life. It's illuminating work. Years from now your ancestors will say "Oh, that's our great, great, great Grandpa!"

Out of a list of 500 values, I picked five that I run my life with:

1. Integrity 2. Connection 3. Wisdom 4. Creativity 5. Joy

In my Legacy letter I talk about why each is important, and how I lived each one. For instance, for 'Integrity' I write about reaching the top of a mountain we were climbing when my body had said 'no more'. I had promised someone I'd get to the top. For 'Joy' I tell the story of breaking into tears when I saw the happiness of a sick child and its family after I had arranged the child's wish.

Now, back to choosing who to vote for.

I'm not going to choose whose candy to eat. All parties are offering to throw something I'd like into my Halloween pillowcase. But I know the day after voting, the mélange of molten candy would be an indecipherable mess. Most of it couldn't take the harsh heat of a bright, white, 'what are you really made of?' light.

I'm going to vote by Value.

After assessing 500 of them, I'm going to vote for 'Responsibility'.

I want the party and Prime Minister I vote for to show Responsibility with how they spend our money; how they treat all classes of citizens and our environment; with how they paint a picture of the future they want to get to, and how I'm part of it.

And I want my government to put some Responsibility on me too. I see too much 'What's in it for me' sometimes. I want my new government to tell me what are my real and reachable responsibilities, depending on what I'm capable of. When we're all rowing, it's a lot more fun being on the boat.

No more tricks, no more treats, no more candy thanks. I've put the pillowcase away. Tell me how you and I are responsible to make Canada better.