Monday, May 23, 2005

The New Voices of the Opposition in BC

The Truth about a 'Strong Opposition':
It's vital. But don’t expect the 'level of debate' to improve.

By Rafe Mair, (May 23, 2005). The

A good article by Rafe. As a neophyte involved in politics,
I too find the naivete of Carole Taylor and Wally Oppal touching,
if not a bit humourous and certainly ill-placed. I truly believe
most people, like the aforementioned, get into politics because
they "want to make a difference." Unfortunately, it doesn't take
long to realize that the well oiled political machine and game
(whether that is business, or labour) has it's own plan. Unless
people learn to play the game, they will be steamrolled and
disillusioned, or, like Chuck Cadman, they will make tough
decisions and hold onto their commitment and integrity by
thinking and acting according to their personal values. I think
that Ms. Taylor and Mr. Oppal will soon find out the pit of
snakes they have landed in and then their real game will be on,
how to make a difference by using cunning and strategic plans
and alliances.

Having read through some pertinent estimates "debates" by
Jenny Kwan & Joy MacPhail, I truly believe that most BC
citizens do not understand what personal costs must have
occurred to them to try to use what little voice and power
they had to challenge THE most corrupt and incompetent
government in BC's history. I believe they are both owed a
deep debt by the citizens of BC. The internal workings of
government, or the legislature remain a mystery to those
who have not been in the belly of the beast. Only those who
have been inside and got out alive can really know what
happens and no amount of educated guessing on the parts
of pundits, high-paid consultants, or media, can really tell
you the whole story. I am deeply encouraged by the increased
number of MLA's in opposition for the reasons you mentioned.
A well funded opposition research and support staff will catch
this government in their manufactured and Canwest disseminated

As you mentioned some members of the media, a much smaller
percentage than you envision, have done their jobs as journalists
and publishers over the past four years. I also think that members
of the media, especially the mainstream media, must begin to take
more responsibility for ignoring the big stories, by bowing to the
Canwest master and eating from the hand of the Liberals. There
needs to be a shake up and a true expansion of the role of media
in holding governments of all stripes accountable for public policy,
government actions and repercussions to the electorate, not just
the ones with money and ID who get to vote. I wonder if the media
hacks, who shill for the Liberals feel good about the work they do?
How can they? But then I also understand a bit more about how
people are cherry picked for reasons that often have nothing to
do with how competent, skillful, or effective they are at their
jobs. It's the Peter principle: "in a hierarchically structured
administration, people tend to be promoted up to their
"level of incompetence...
The net result is that most of the
higher levels of a bureaucracy will be filled by incompetent
people, who got there because they were quite good at doing
a different (and usually, but not always, easier) task than the
one they are expected to do."

If there is one thing the Liberals did well, it was to inspire the
ire of those in positions to create mechanisms for change,
such as the use of the internet and other media. We should
really thank them for giving all of us activists the fuel to
harness new and old technologies in the pursuit of social
justice, something which has certainly been lacking through
the last couple of egocentric decades. One thing that became
clear to me is that over the last 4 years, bloggers, pundits
and activists have created a new layer of oversight and
media exposure to government's failures, incompetence
and scandals. I look forward to continuing this over the
next 4 years and invite the mainstream media to join us
in that endeavour, instead of feeling threatened and dissing
the new voices. Maybe they should return to their roots of
journalism as a noble and important profession, reporting
the facts as they are, not as the Liberals, or Asper's of the
world wished they would be.

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