Voters, Start Thinking! – 2017 BC Election

Tierney Watkinson |  Team Member

Ever since he-who-must-not-be-named was sworn in as President of the USA, we have been watching, transfixed in our horror as a narcissist sporting the hairstyle of a stained, dead albino rat on his head does whatever his whimsical, narrow-minded self desires to a country that made the mistake of not taking him seriously until it was too late.

Let’s not forget that British Columbia’s own elections are coming up.

I feel that it is important to note that there are, in fact, a great number of registered political parties in BC. Elections BC lists the following parties (as of February 1, 2017) as viable: B.C. Vision, BC First Party, BC Marijuana Party, BC NDP, BC Progressive Party, BC Refederation Party, British Columbia Action Party, British Columbia Conservative Party, British Columbia Excalibur Party, British Columbia Liberal Party, British Columbia Libertarian Party, British Columbia Party, British Columbia People’s Party (BCPP), British Columbia Social Credit Party, The Cascadia Party of British Columbia, Christian Heritage Party of British Columbia, Communist Party of BC, Cultural Action Party, Green Party Political Association of British Columbia, Land Air Water (LAW) Party, People’s Front, The Platinum Party of Employers Who Think and Act to Increase Awareness, Unparty: The Consensus-Building Party, The Vancouver Island Party, Work Less Party of British Columbia, and Your Political Party of BC.

I am going to skip right over the discussion about which of these parties are duds and which are worthy of being listened to.

My point is, do your research. Maybe Canada doesn’t seem to have as many shows based on political satire or late-night TV hosts dedicated to such topics as the USA does —for instance Seth Myers, The Daily Show, or Samantha Bee (who was born in Canada but whose heart was stolen by the USA)—and maybe we don’t have quite as colourful a leader at the moment, but that does not mean we should not pay attention to politicians at home. The US has made it very clear that it does not matter how stupid or ignorant a candidate seems; if you don’t slam the door on the toddler who wants to get into office, they will get in and they will start breaking things.

Write this down: Voter registration closes April 11. Advance voting begins the end of April; check out the Elections BC website for exact dates. Otherwise, the day to vote is May 9. MAY 9, 2017. Voting in elections is not something anybody should take lightly. Voting is THE chance you get to have a say in how your region, province, and/or country are run.

Visit the party websites. “Party” is a bit of a misleading term, I’ll admit. If a political group was a party it would be the kind of party where you arrive feeling awkward and underdressed, because you had to ring the doorbell three times before anyone answered and the host opened the door and swept you with a look you would describe as “unimpressed”. You don’t know why they are unimpressed–you just assume it was your face or what you are wearing or maybe the champagne you brought wasn’t fancy enough for the four-storey house that was built in the 1940s and has been in the host’s family for five–sorry, six–generations. Once you are inside the mansion you are suddenly and painfully aware that you probably shouldn’t touch anything so you station yourself in a corner and drink your own champagne with a tiny flute the butler–why didn’t the butler open the door, you wonder, confused- -hands you, listening to the conversations of the better-dressed people who are either ignoring you or simply do not see you. You did, after all, subconsciously activate your cloaking device. Initially you are hoping to learn something of interest (and perhaps waiting to become inspired to make some sort of contribution yourself, to either the conversation or the country) while you demurely sip from your champagne flute, but as the hour wears on and it becomes clear that the party attendees are perfectly content to bitch about the people at the party across the street and congratulate themselves on some passive aggressive Twitter zingers they tagged the opposing party-goers in you give up completely and switch to chugging that sweet alcoholic nectar straight from the bottle.

If you avoid debates and party websites because you are sick and tired of the repeated arguments that political parties use, and are frustrated that they tend to focus on bashing the opposition rather than actually suggesting valid improvements to policy and other issues, I recommend you at least watch The Beaverton and Because News. The Beaverton (thebeaverton. com) is, much like The Onion, a fake news show but it focuses on Canadian politics and events. Because News is a CBC Radio podcast that mocks current events in the country (they also touch upon the antics of the burnt marshmallow in charge of the USA because, well, it is unavoidable) in a panel format; it is hosted by Gavin Crawford and features new guests each week.

Drag your thoughts away from the debacle in the USA for a moment and give these programs a try. The Mercer Report and This Hour has 22 Minutes also inject a great deal of political satire into their shows—“Rick’s Rant” on The Mercer Report especially tends to focus on political issues and 22 Minutes often interviews party candidates or leaders even as they make light fun of them. Locally, be sure to stay tuned in to the radio stations (at very least when the news is on) such as UNBC’s very own CFUR as well as programs such as Prince George Up Close with Grant Bachand. Up Close already presents a substantial interview with the NDP’s candidate for the upcoming election, as well as the Prince George mayor and other city officials.

Voting itself is frustrating. The research is inconvenient. The process is not even remotely fun, regardless of how big a nerd you are. But it is necessary. Don’t sit passively by. If you miss this opportunity, you won’t get another chance to have a say about BC’s Premier until 2021.