Disturbed by robocalls and other scandals, Ted Musson gave up a comfortable retirement to protest Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
The 71-year-old Musson is walking from his home in Victoria to Ottawa to protest the 2011 federal election.
“I didn’t do this frivolously, nor for an adventure, but I’ll tell you what, it has been an adventure,” Musson said Wednesday during a stop in Fort Macleod. “I’m doing it because I seriously believe this person (Harper) is running this country into the ground.”
A carpenter by trade, Musson has lived the last 12 1/2 years in Victoria, where his main focuses were music and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Between watching his beloved Blue Jays on TV and practising the saxophone, Musson followed coverage of the robocalls from people claiming to be from Elections Canada, who sent voters to non-existent polling stations.
Judge Richard Mobley ruled the most likely source of information used in making the calls was a database controlled by the Conservative Party of Canada.
The judge did not annul the results of the election in the six ridings in question and did not find use of the database was approved by the Conservatives.
“This is an illegal government,” Musson said. “They did not win.”
The robocall scandal was followed by other scandals.
“The financial fraud was being treated by the Harper government as, ‘We made a mistake balancing the chequebook’,” Musson said. “That’s not the way it is. They acted as though it was a little regulation that got bent. It’s not — it’s a law.”
Musson stressed the laws are in place to prevent the rich from unduly influencing government.
“If you do not have spending limitations in elections, that’s exactly what you have,” Musson said. “The wealthy do control it. They can buy up all the television time, all the radio time, and know they can write it off.”
Musson kept waiting for someone to do something, but as his 70th birthday approached in August 2012 Musson realized no one was taking action.
“If I wasn’t practising or watching the Blue Jays get their butts kicked, I found I was watching the television and getting angry with the Harper government.”
Musson gave up his subsidized apartment, bought a 1979 RV and set out on the road.
There is nothing easy about Musson’s solitary journey. He drives a couple kilometres ahead, parks, walks back to the starting point and then walks back to the RV.
Musson walks with a yellow sign on his back that explains his mission. Web site addresses are written on the side of the RV to direct people to his blog and other sources of information.
“I am so much more in love with Canadians than the day I left, and I already was,” Musson said. “The people have been absolutely amazing.”
Musson got an assist from a friendly mechanic in Osoyoos when his RV experienced transmission trouble, and a shop owner in Pincher Creek helped him hook up a battery to power his heater.
Drivers who pass Musson on the highway have made a U-turn in order to come back and talk to him about his journey.
Musson’s health is holding up, except for a swollen knee he attributes to an injury he suffered 25 years ago when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike.
“Emotionally and mentally I’m good,” Musson said. “I’m absolutely convinced I’m doing what I should be doing.”
Musson starts his day with a bowl of oatmeal and fruit and meditates each day for an hour. He fills his down time playing his saxophone or talking to people about the government.
Musson will continue his journey through the winter, although he’s prepared to hunker down when the weather gets bad.
“The people are engaging with me,” Musson said. “Quite frankly, the chagrin at Harper is so universal that if they see that’s what I’m about they want to engage.”
You can follow Ted Musson’s journey at www.electionfraud2011,wordpress.com.
“I believe there is a greater percentage of people believing on a day-to-day basis that it is an illegal government,” Musson said.