Are you among the many voters who, when scanning the choices on Election Day, wish you could vote “None of the Above”?
If so, and you live in the federal riding of Markham-Thornhill, your wish has come true.
Meet Above Znoneofthe, an independent candidate running in the upcoming by-election this April 3rd. If you can’t make sense of his name, it’ll become crystal clear when it appears on the ballot as ZNoneofthe, Above, i.e. “None of the Above”.
Yes, that’s his real name. Legally bought and paid for. That shows you how serious he is about giving Canadians a true alternative at the voting booth.
His timing is perfect. Voters do seem to be in the mood for alternatives. After all, non-traditional candidate Kevin O’Leary is considered a front runner to win the Conservative leadership at this May’s convention in Toronto. Not to mention the controversial election victory of President Donald Trump that turned the entire political world on its ear.
But unlike O’Leary and Trump, who are relative newcomers to politics, Znoneofthe has previously tried his hand at politics with one of our major parties. It was an experience that caused him to seek change on his own.
“They had us putting up signs late at night,” Znoneofthe says. “We’d be out and then someone would say ‘Let’s go take the other candidate’s signs down.’ I knew that wasn’t right, but they insisted I play the political game. I put my candidate’s signs up, didn’t take any other candidate’s signs down, and then stopped working for that candidate. I decided to strike out on my own at that point.”
With a majority Liberal government currently sitting in Ottawa, Znoneofthe understands that his chances to affect major policy are close to zero. But he still plans to speak up and make a positive difference on many issues for people in his riding and beyond..
“I want to promote improvements in customer service and reduce entitlement at the federal level,” he says. “The government talks about innovations all the time, but have you ever tried to call a federal government agency? You’re on hold forever, and everything you want to get done gets bogged down in red tape. And no one there wants to change anything. They’d rather keep their head down and go with the flow because the current system is how they’ve always done it.
“If you have a question for the government, you should be able to get the answer quickly and get back to work instead of being on the phone all day.”
He also cites Service Canada locations as an example of a system that, with its long lines and seemingly-entitled employees, isn’t customer focused enough.
“When you go into Service Canada,” he says. ” You should be in and out of there in 10 – 30 minutes. But the staff takes their time at the window, or stand around chatting on break while the line gets longer and longer. In any other business, the manager would come out, open more wickets, and have staff wait to take breaks until the rush is over. Even having someone walking the line, making sure that customers have all the documentation needed so they don’t waste their time waiting, would be an innovation that would really help.”
Znoneofthe stresses that voting for someone you believe in is better than not voting at all, and that spoiling ballots or staying home on Election Day goes against the very values that brave men and women fought for in the last century.
“I believe that voting is more than a right,” he says. “It’s every Canadian’s duty. It’s not an excuse to be too busy to vote. Were the soldiers who fought, bled, and died at Dieppe or on Vimy Ridge too busy? They did their duty, and by voting we’re respecting their sacrifice. Whomever you’re supporting, show up and vote.”