Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town: The Learning Resource

Eleven: The Candidacy of Mr. Smith

The Candidacy of Mr. Smith continues the story of the federal election campaign. Literally overnight, Josh Smith becomes a British Imperialist as he bears the Conservative banner against incumbent Liberal Henry Bagshaw and Independent candidate Edward Drone. The campaign devolves into appeals based on meaningless statistics, shady tactics, and self-interest. Smith proves victorious with the help of supporters who “vote and keep on voting till they make you quit” (181).

Reading Questions

  1. When Josh Smith begins his run for office as a Conservative, he hoists a British flag over his hotel then “watched the flag fluttering in the wind” (168).
    a) What does this line mean?
    b) Aside from hoisting the British flag, what other changes does Smith make at his hotel?

  2. The positions of three candidates are summarised by their promotional materials:
    • SMITH AND BRITISH ALLEGIANCE reads the Conservative banners
    • DRONE AND HONESTY reads the single Drone banner.
    Expand on the positions of each of the candidates.

  3. What happens to Drone’s banner? What is the significance of this?

  4. What is Josh Smith’s strategy for dealing with the press? How do the papers report their interview with him?

  5. Describe the phenomenon of the political buggies campaigning in the countryside.

  6. Review Bagshaw’s speech on pages 174 and 175.
    a) Is he really trying to “depart leaving as little animosity behind me as possible” (174)?
    b) What is lost for democracy when people demonize their political opponents?

  7. a) What mistake does Smith make about his prohibitionist platform?
    b) Smith’s updated prohibition policy tries to appease everyone:
    A declaration in favour of such a form of restrictive license as should promote temperance while encouraging the manufacture of spiritous liquors, and by a severe regulation of the liquor traffic should place intoxicants in the hands of those fitted to use them. (177)
    c) How is the prohibition debate in Mariposa similar to Canada’s decriminalisation of marijuana?

  8. Describe the bandwagon effect on election day. How do people react when they think a candidate is leading? What is being said about human nature?

Women and the Vote

Deeper Understanding

Public Opinion Polling

Deeper Understanding

Voter Fraud in Canada

Deeper Understanding

“The Definitive Analysis” of Canada’s 1911 Reciprocity Election

In Depth

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