It is 1:30am, and I am just returning home from my MLA’s celebration party.
I’m proud to say I worked on Doug Routley’s campaign, which he won by a landslide. For most of us, this isn’t a surprise. Doug has been a strong advocate for our community and another four years for him is well deserved.
The outcome of the provincal government is still unclear, although many news outlets have already called a minority government. If the seats stay where they are, after the final counts and absentee ballots are counted, we are looking at the first minority government in 65 years.
A few thoughts at this late hour on what could be a historic night for our province.
The first is utter shock, on my part, that there are still so many people in this province that are willing to mark their ballot in the name of such blatant corruption. If ever there were a time for change, I surely thought that time had come. The current Liberal government is currently under two RCMP investigations and a pending lawsuit all in relation to their political donations — which mostly draw from corporations — and partisan advertising paid for with our tax dollars. The level of corruption in our province has reached such heights that it has gained the attention of international media like the New York Times.
Putting aside my utter shock and dismay that the Liberals’ support is still that strong, I want to look at the brighter side of tonight’s results. Anyone who has read any of my blogs would know that I had high hopes for an NDP majority and I held that hope into these wee hours, watching the flip flop of seats between the Liberals and the NDP. As it sits now, the NDP and Greens together could hold a majority over the Liberals.
Although it wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for, it does signal that the majority of voters decided it was time for a more progressive government, and that in itself is a victory. Although there hasn’t always been a lot of love between these two parties, they do share some strong values and policies, such as banning big money from politics and bringing in a more fair voting system in the form of proportional representation. Implementing these two things would greatly improve our democracy and rid our province of the mass corruption we see today with the B.C. Liberals.
Time will tell if the two parties will be able to work together against the Liberals (who oppose both policies mostly because they benefit greatly from them) to make these important improvements.
My final thought at this late hour is my utter disbelief that our voter turnout was only 57%. This is up slightly from last election, and some on the news tonight hailed it as a victory increase. I wish I could be so positive. To me, just over half the population voting is an embarrassment to our democracy and it is clear — at least to me — that we still have a lot of work to do to improve these numbers.
Watching the recent election in France, I heard it remarked that they had one of their lowest voter turnouts in a long time at 65 percent. So we aren’t even reaching what other places consider their lowest turnouts. It’s worth noting that in places that implement a more fair proportional representation voting system they tend to see an increase in voter turn out as more people feel that their vote really does count.
I’m sure I speak for a lot of people, volunteers and candidates alike, when I say the last few months have been full of long days and hard work. Tonight was the night we all hoped to have a definitive answer on which direction this province would be heading in and unfortunately, if you’re like me, you may feel like you’re going to sleep tonight with more questions than answers.
The biggest comfort I take away from tonight’s election is that change is in the air. We’ll have to see which form it takes.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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