Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The British Columbia Provincial Election of 2009

Truthfully? OK, truthfully I meant to write a piece on this blog about the forthcoming provincial election some time ago. And as time went by I found it harder and harder to get into the spirit of things. Distracted, as I am by almost everything that moves in world affairs, I found it hard to focus on what was happening on my doorstep. And now that the Canucks seem to be rolling towards a 4-0 slam dunk of the Blues my attention is scattered even further.

Not to say that I have been totally lackadaisical. I did attend the first information night at the Liberal Party headquarters last week. And I did leave with a lawn sign, a button, and a promise to do the rounds on two days with candidate Ken Stewart. I like Ken and I hope he wins; I hope anyone running for the Liberals wins. I am not totally instructed as to why I feel so strongly about the Liberals winning, but I do know that since they have been running the show I have slept better. And my sleep is important to me.

I also know I'll sleep better once the situation at Northumberland Court on Fraser Street has been satisfactorily resolved and that the poor people who have had to endure the hardships of living under the negligence of slumbowow Jack the Lad will be soon be free to live like normal, protected human beings. In this vein we managed to pull off a neat little all-candidates meeting last night in the St Andrews Heritage Church. Organized, as it were, by Tyler Ducharme, we took the opportunity to focus the attention of the candidates on Haney, slack and negligent landlords, the need to keep the West Coast Express station open in Haney as shutting it would fly in the face of all that is logical, public transport sensible and sustainable.

Some good ideas came forward from most of the candidates. It is a shame though that the good ideas are often lost on the crowd owing to a singular lack of passion. No passion in local politics, none in provincial and even less in the federal arena. Canada's politics seems marked by frigid disinterest, raising only mild interest from those who have chosen the political path as a career or those others who have the misfortune to report and comment on politics here. None the less, one goes to the polls and does what one does.

How does one make a choice. I decided as I often do to simply vote for the best managers rather than for policies per se. Listening to the candidates it was hard to find anything that they could conceivably disagree on, so I move to the next step in government i.e. can they manage what they propose. I'd say the best managers by a wide margin are the Liberals.

With my 60th birthday looming this summer - and for some time now, perhaps longer than I can to admit - my attention is drawn to those in need. At the top of the list are the mentally disadvantaged. I can think of no group who are more in need of society's attention and care than them. The NDP policy to disentangle itself from the responsibilities of running facilities such as Riverside in Coquitlam is, in my view, unforgivable and being true to my view I can never support this party.

Children and the poor are sequentially second and third on my list of the needy, followed by single parents. And when all is tied together it seems that education is the binder in all this. We must educate with intelligence and I am not sure that we do. We must treat the sick who cannot treat themselves or afford to have others do it for them. Party politics has or should not have any role in the care of the mentally handicapped, children, the poor and the homeless. If ever society needed 'we the people' it is in these areas. Economics, energy, transport, police and the judiciary are fine pawns for the politicos. But to hold the disadvantaged to ransom over politics is disingenuous.

The Green Party are streets ahead of the NDP in morality, but lack sadly in my opinion in capability. In years to come they may find leaders who not only understand the fragility of planet earth, but can find the time to combine this understanding with the practical aspects of government. Green is a wonderful goal, but maketh not society whole.

The reformers, democratic champions, whiners, whingers and some nonesensical groups who choose to run in order to make great talking points and keep us awake during the endless tirade of cliches that we are forced to endure at campaign time are little more than a sideshow.

A US election this ain't. Not even a Zimbabwean or South African or any other election. We are, in our way, the dullest possible variety of dish water when it comes to politics. Yet our system, for all its minor ittritations and blandness, works. In this gray northwest corner of the continent, our community of wooden houses, hockey games, green soccer fields and the frequent order of a latte puncutated only by the ratatat of yet another gang member removing a competitor from our streets, we seem contentedly relaxed and happy.

The campaign signs will come down, the votes counted. And we will move on. In only a few months the Olympic hullabaloo will be over, the tax payer, licking his wounds will retreat to the flat screen and couch and dial up another pizza meal.

One or two of the car manufacurers will disappear for ever. The recession will only be a memory.

Lift tickets at Whistler will become magically cheaper and fewer construction cranes will hold court in the downtown of Vancouver.

Trains will glide quietly underground to and froing tourists, immigrants and business people in and out of our communities.

There will be an election - and unless someone comes up with a really bright idea the Liberals will be enjoying a fourth term in office.

That's all we can look forward to. Pretty grim, when I come to think of it.

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