EDITORIAL: Don’t snooze this one out

Residents need to be active during the provincial election campaign

The 2013 provincial election will be one of the most important in recent memory. At a time when the economy appears to be in slow motion, yet demands on the public purse are increasing, voters need to pay attention.

Of course, we say this for every election – to no avail. In the 2009 provincial election, only about 50 per cent of voters bothered to cast a vote.

Who is to blame? It’s hard to say. Is it negative advertising that turns people off? NDP leader Adrian Dix says so and has promised a more positive campaign. But will that end indifference or will people turn away in boredom?

Is it helplessness and apathy that keep people away from the polls? Many people simply don’t connect with government. Liberal leader Christy Clark has tried to be a populist premier, appealing to the hockey mom vote, but has failed to attract women’s support. Why?

Perhaps voters simply distrust anything politicians say. Clearly there is a disconnect and the media may have contributed to this malaise by blowing every little incident out of proportion. As in the story of the boy who cried wolf, many voters simply tune out after a while, yet, sadly, when there is a real issue, many eligible voters simply don’t see the connection between their vote and government policy.

Instead, they leave the field to special interest groups – business, unions, lobbyists – to hijack the results.

The truth is that politicians will only be accountable if we hold them accountable. We have a right to toss any of them out if they don’t do what they promised so voters need to pay attention to what politicians say and they need to find out who they are.

— Surrey Leader