System stifles voter turnout

People don't seem to care anymore about who we send to the legislature to represent us

This is an election year in B.C. In just four months the writ will be dropped and a 28-day election period will commence. Once the ballots have been counted and the results have been released British Columbians will have to live with that result for four years. The old-line political parties (NDP/Liberals) are positioning themselves as the best choice. And the BC Conservative Party and the Greens are asking us to give them a chance at the helm. Who will win?

When making the decision I might ask why I should continue to support bad behavior.

The BC Liberals are claiming to be rebounding and some British Columbians are accepting the concept of party renewal and a super coalition being served up under Liberal red.

While the NDP are again and again claiming to be “new” all the while hoping that people have forgotten their reign, or have died or possibly were too young to vote when they last held power in B.C.

If you believe in the latest poll this seems to be working to some degree, but as my friend, former MP Darrel Stinson often reminds me, “Polls are for dogs!” He may be right.

With voter turnout shrinking, people just don’t seem to care anymore about who we send to the legislature to represent us.

It might be our own fault, because whoever we send doesn’t represent us, the people. They represent their political party, and they tow the party line, and if it fits into the party agenda, then the constituents.

The failure here in B.C. is with our two-party political system. Maybe we have been convinced by the parties that traditionally win, that those two parties are good enough. No they are not!

Every developing democracy and transition country around the world is encouraged by Western Nations to have multi-party political systems.

A multi-party system encourages voter turnout and improves debate regarding key issues. It forces those that are elected to listen and to get closer to the people they are trying to represent and make good policy decisions on things that matter most; education, healthcare and the social safety net.

What do we hear in B.C.?

Our parties seem to lack real policy instead they have chosen to paint the other party as bad or evil. In the last few years the most common falsehood is, “If you vote Conservative you will get NDP”.

Expect to hear more of the politics of fear and how to strategically vote.

Don’t buy it my friends, seek out the candidates, listen to them speak, find out how they tick. If you like what you hear vote for them.

Don’t vote just because they are representing a particular party – remember you want them to represent us, the people first.

If you like what has happened over the last 20 years, it’s easy, vote with an old-line party. If you want more this time, dig deeper, ask more questions, and vote for the best candidate regardless of the party.

Two choices – between bad and really bad is no choice at all, let’s give all those that have the courage to run the respect of listening to what they would do if given the privilege to represent us here in Vernon/Monashee.

So who will win in the spring?  The only thing that is certain at this point, an election will be held and we will have a result in May 2013. The outcome is in your hands.

 

Jim Hart, Vernon