Along came Belinda ...

Last year, Aurora Ont. was so insignificant to Elections Canada that the redistribution of electoral ridings tomahawked the town straight down Yonge St. and equally divided its 43,000 inhabitants into two separate ridings.

Residents protested, signed petitions, and demanded the reunion of their bubble-’burb until Elections Canada agreed to mend the fissure. Aurora was thus linked with Newmarket, its neighbour to the north, and together the two towns formed their own riding and satisfied enough people.

But along came Belinda.

The former Magna princess announced her bid for the Conservative Party’s leadership at the Aurora Legion, and suddenly the town found itself on the front page of the Toronto Star the next morning.

Stronach’s eventual loss to Stephen Harper did not stop her from campaigning in the federal election, nor did it stop Harper from making a campaign stop in Aurora to make sure as many residents as possible were “demanding better.”

Not a bad show for a town that still doesn’t have a movie theatre, or a mall, or more than one municipal pool.

“Hell ya, remember Aurora,” cried Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters in a song that shares my hometown's namesake. Except people shouldn’t remember Aurora just because Team Belinda wins a seat in the House of Commons.

Almost every response Stronach gave at Aurora’s local candidates debate was read off of a written statement. My favorite: after a resident posed a question about the Kyoto Accord, Ms Stronach said anything that the United States doesn’t join is not worth joining for Canada.

Stronach made an appearance at Aurora’s Yonge St. sale in early June, and many young people bore her Team Belinda tags.

They like her because she’s glamorous, but would they feel the same way if they actually made an informed decision about her party?

Enhancing a politician’s celebrity image so he or she can win votes worked for Trudeau, but he later backed his star-image with solid politicking. This will not happen to someone on the federal stage who isn’t fluent in French.

And where would Belinda be if not for Team Belinda, a collection of people who, during the candidate debates, dressed in thousand dollar suits in a room full of citizens dressed comfortably in t-shirts and shorts, who clapped obnoxiously loud and in unison with each other after every response Ms Stronach made?

That Belinda Stronach could represent the riding of Aurora-Newmarket disturbed many who attended the debate.

But more than 50 per cent of the riding would vote Conservative regardless of which candidate was representing the party, oblivious to the party’s platform. Unfortunate.

If Canadians must remember Aurora because it bred Belinda, please also remember that my town is an example of money talking and the wrong people walking to Ottawa.

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