Obviously no-one would be surprised that I'm deeply disappointed at how the 2009 Provincial election has turned out. For those of you who've read my blog know, I've never minced words, I believe that the evidence of the BC Liberals' governance over the past 8 years positions them as amongst the worst and most corrupt in BC's history. I think the BC Liberal win deserves some thoughtful analysis.
Out of the new 85 seats, the BC Liberals, at this time, are reported to have won 49, with the NDP winning 36, 2 more than last election. Both Campbell (BC Liberal) and James (BC NDP), the leaders of their parties won their seats. While Sterk (Green)and Hanni (Conservative) both lost the ridings they were running in. There are some lessons in those two latter turn outs.
STV was roundly rejected by voters. It's hard to see how voters, a large majority who didn't even exercise their vote, think First Past the Post is working for us here in BC, but that's the results. I wonder if they next referendum should put Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) to the test?
According to reports, only 52% of eligible voters turned out, which is down 8% from the 2005 general election. That is a disgrace and something to be embarassed about when people in other areas of our globe fight and die for the right to vote.
My grandparents, staunchly engaged in exercising their electoral franchise, wisely always told us, if you don't vote, you have no damn right to complain about the government and how it carries out business.
After yet another crappy voter turnout I think I'm falling in line with those who are advocating for mandatory voting, such as the way of Australia and other nations. We have it far too good here in Canada and have become lazy, apathetic and complacent. I also don't want to hear the nonsense about there being no-one to vote for. I'll tell you who we're voting for - our children, our seniors, our homeless (who don't even get to vote now), for our most vulnerable people and for the future of BC.
If people took even 5 minutes to check out each candidate running in their riding, more time than they spend watching the Canucks, shopping, or watching TV, they would find someone they could vote for, someone who on the balance was someone they might feel they could support for office.
Most candidates are homegrown, not parachuted in, with some exceptions. Most have a record of civic service in people's regions and communities. That is who you vote for. It's not hard.
Getting the Vote Out
Quite simply, the BC Liberals were able to get the vote out better in certain regions that counted for more votes. As my predictions stated yesterday, Kamloops continues it's bellwether title, electing Liberal candidates in both of the new Kamloops North & South ridings. That is worthy of a deeper analysis in the future.
Delta South - Oppal has squeaked out the tiniest win (2 votes) over Independent Vicki Huntington, which is a true loss for the people of that region. I hope people who were otherwise too busy to get out and vote for the latter will enjoy all of the new pollution heading their way. The automatic recount could be interesting. In any event, it's a fascinating window in the soul of a riding that they are so willing to hand the reins over to someone who forgot he even lived there until about 5 minutes before the election over someone who'se been working for citizens, kickin' ass and representing for a long time. Enjoy the power lines and all of the new traffic.
Kootenay East - I really find it quite astonishing that a candidate who shows such poor regard and judgment for a running mate as to refer to his racial status as a reason to vote for him is elected. I quite simply obviously don't understand the way a majority of people in that riding think and I'm rather proud of that, because that ad & stunt would have been enough to show me that Bennett would be a very poor representative for the people of the riding, ALL of the people.
A look at CBC's Interactive map, which illustrates voting riding by riding, with handy colours spelling out which party took the region. What seems quite ironic to me is that many of the regions that voted Liberal are those who have been hurt the most by the previous Liberal government's policies and will be hurting more than many other areas of BC.
Enjoy that 50% increase in the gas tax come July 1st 2009. And burn while the proceeds of that tax get poured into the Lower Mainland, which is sure to happen to boost transit in that region while you can all keep filling up your gas tanks, enjoying how your heating bills go up & up & up. It's difficult to even understand what the selling features would be for some of those regions for voting Liberal after 8 years of very little for those ridings. Oh well, hope it was worth it.
Once again, the Green Party and it's supporters have proven to be the spoilers of what could have been much more progressive governance in BC in some regions. When your party leader can't even win their own riding, there is a serious need to analyze what the point of this party is and what their future direction is.
BC No Longer Has a Moral High Ground
As the results cannot deny, BC can no longer have any claim to having a solid moral high ground and we are much worse off because of that. Voters in several regions have essentially sanctioned, encouraged and approved of amoral, questionable and possible criminal behaviour as being something to be of no concern to them when it comes to our public officials. Way to go folks.
BC has elected the following people again, in spite of previous serious criminal charges (drunk driving in the case of Premier Campbell), loss of driving license and failure to step down as Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General (John Van Dongen) and continuing RCMP investigations on the others as well as the BC Liberal party ( John Les, Mary Polak and Rich Coleman).
To me, that is what I'm most deeply ashamed of as a result of this election. Parents can no longer pretend that drunk driving, excessive speeding, shady and underhanded deals and other shenanigans are a bad thing. Our public officials have proven than you can do whatever you want, no matter who might get hurt and everything will be A-okay and you will even be rewarded. Voting these people in again, with the knowledge of these things, demonstrates a clear move toward dumbing down the morality of our entire province for future generations. Remember that next time your kids ask to borrow the keys when they head out to that party.
The NDP Needs to Change
Many of us believed that this election was the NDP's to lose. And they did. I had many reports from people early on wondering when the NDP was going to even start their campaign, when their platform would be out, what they were doing to rally the forces and get the vote out?
I know lots of NDP members and supporters, I know they were working their fingers to the bone getting the vote out in their regions (as were Liberal supporters too). I also know, some NDP candidates and campaigns were pathetic. Examples, I received several calls from NDP candidates from different areas, not one single call from my own NDP incumbent, who I've been in communications with, as well as with the office. That's beyond lame.
I know of people walking into NDP campaign offices to find very little in the way of literature, swag, volunteers, or buzz. Nothing to do, so they walked right out. Yet, the same people walking into labour organizations finding buzz, campaign planning, multi-media tools and lots of creative materials to hand out to potential voters.
I've know this for a long time, as have many, in spite of the excellent candidates who were elected, there is something very broken within the NDP leadership, in the backroom. It is time for the old school to step down, move on and let some fresh air into this party and movement. Until that happens, the NDP will not be seen as a viable party to the majority of the populace needed to lead the province. Too many remember and mistrust the NDP of old and the current incarnation was not able to get the message out that today's NDP really is different from the old days, with a lot of new people, new energy, talented, educated and skilled people of all ages. The left has changed for the better and it's time for new faces, voices and leaders to take the reins.
It would be easy for me to just throw my hands up in the air in disgust and walk away from this bloodsport we call politics, but other than a wee break, I can't do that, there is too much at stake for all of us here in BC, even the people who vote against their own interests. So, I will carry on, exposing why the BC Liberals Suck in technicolor detail and no-holds-barred opinion and free speech. I'll keep adding to the other voices of the blogosphere and journalists who haven't sold their souls to keep their jobs in the doomed mainstream media.
I believe in the people of BC, believe that they want to know the truth about their government's actions and deeds governing this Beautiful province of ours. The truth will set us free and it will help us navigate what are sure to be very choppy waters over the next four years.
Congratulations to those who worked hard and were elected. Watch your backs to those who've got something to hide, because we will be here to expose you and hold your feet to the fire as we continue to dream of social and economic justice, dignity and human rights for all of us here in British Columbia.