December 9, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Opinion polls all say the incumbent B.C. Liberals led by Premier Christy Clark are going down to certain defeat. The Liberals are way behind Adrian Dix's NDP, which appears poised to win. The Libs were even behind the Greens and the Conservatives. Pundits are spouting their views and Liberals have launched negative attack ads on TV and radio.
The ads are annoying. We already knew Dix lied about back-dating a memo, but still kept his $70,000 severance package back in the 1990s.
Dix primly says he won't "go negative." If he weren't so pure he could go after the Libs on the HST. Face it, they lied through their teeth, and they deserve 40 years in the wilderness as punishment.
But Dix doesn't have to attack. The media has gone nuts about Clark "running a red light" with her son and a reporter in the car. Gasp! It was very stupid of her, but the way it is being reported is also stupid and it angers me.
They keep saying "she ran a red light," which is not accurate. At five in the morning, taking her kid to hockey practice, with not another car in sight, she treated a red light like a four-way stop.
At the same time, BCers have been hearing all week about the horrible aftermath of a terrible tragedy that killed five members of one family in a small car that was T-boned by someone who allegedly sped through a red light at a busy intersection at midday. That is running a red light. There is a difference.
So far the election is unexciting. There have been a couple of debates, but no knock-out punches. No scandals have spiced it up yet. Polls keep telling us the outcome is a forgone conclusion. Ho-hum.
Nobody is talking about issues. In fact, to steal from Winnie the Pooh, if you say the word "issue" loud enough at Granville and Georgia, someone will pop up and say "gesundheit!" and hand you a tissue.
There's been not a word about education or health care, which are two of the more important ideas up for grabs, given that neither is working very well in this province.
Clark insists she has a balanced budget and Dix insists she doesn't. Pipelines loom large. I think that Libs are for and NDP are against, but it's fuzzy.
What I find most interesting is what people aren't talking about. There has been a complete absence of moaning about the "democratic deficit." Where is the hand-wringing about low voter turnout?
In past elections, CBC Radio One droned on for days about low turnout. Where is the grey-faced hopelessness? Where are the youthful voters who say they won't be voting, have never voted, and voting is of no use because their vote won't "count?" Where are the passionate demands for "electoral reform?" The silence on proportional representation is deafening.
Which leaves me with the problem of who to vote for. This might be the first time in my life I am really and truly undecided, as is my husband.
I just can't vote for Dix's party. Sorry, Adrian, nothing personal, but NDP just isn't in my DNA. Great ideas; too bad they don't work.
I really don't like Clark's party either. Too much baggage. And the HST debacle will not be forgotten for a long time, although I think they might have been punished enough for that one.
Our kids are beside themselves. They have never seen us undecided before and they don't like it. They want us to tell them how to vote so they can do the opposite. One of them tried an email gauntlet other day, warning "that a vote for the Conservatives was a vote for the NDP." He knows we're more conservative than social democrat and hoped that it would irritate us. Which it did. But not enough to make up our minds.
I would tell them who not to vote for if I knew. But I don't.
So, I might just... no, you eager idiots, I am not going to sit this one out. That would be stupid and cowardly.
I will vote, but... well it is a secret ballot isn't it? So I don't have to tell you.
And if someone I don't like gets in, I won't protest and riot and stop traffic and demand a brand new voting system.
I will say, "The people have spoken!" and I will celebrate the fact that we Canadians are blessed and fortunate to have free elections with no need to riot and kill to change a government.
Marilyn Baker is a freelance writer living in Richmond, B.C.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 7, 2013 0