Give thought to your democratic privilege

Don’t go in with the fear that voting for a lesser-known party or individual will damage the process

In the world of B.C. politics, there is no set of rules such as those for boxing, i.e. Marquess of Queensberry Rules. The writ has been dropped; the campaigning starts and the dog and pony show is the order of the day until election day in May. That’s the way it has been in the past and it will likely be that way for some time to come.

Let’s see how the scenario plays out before we visit or revisit Christy Clark’s pageant of the Liberals. The legislature was scheduled to meet a total of 66 days for this year’s session. This year, the House sat for 23 of those 66 scheduled days. There were several bills left unpassed.

These might have passed had there not been a three-week spring break prior to the dropping of the writ

Considering that after the last 29 per cent raise they got, MLAs are paid on average the sum of approximately $130,000 a year. If one does the basic math, based on this year’s in-session time, this equates to about $5,652 (before taxes) per in-sessional day (excluding the premier and leader of the opposition). Considering that the average family income in the province is around $53,000 a year, these poor MLAs need and deserve everything that they get for services rendered. I don’t believe that their expense budgets are included in the salary, whereas the average family has to include everything. So much for Christy Clark’s Family First promise. Another part of the Liberal legacy? Maybe.

There are some bones of contention out there and I’m sure that there will be some to follow before the election. These ones will be of the nature that could compare to two dogs fighting over the same scrap of meat or the same bone. One of these is the proposed budget, that didn’t get third reading in the House. The follow-up to that was the promise of a “balanced budget”. The opposition claims that the budget is far from balanced and, in fact, there is a deficit of about $750 million. Who’s right? Who or what do we believe? The election will not prove or disprove what’s the truth.

We can liken this election to two trains on the same track, coming toward one another with the ultimate goal of reaching the station first. The Liberal train has had several glitches along the way. One cannot overlook the Family First promise; the massive job creation promise; the prudent spending promise (not to mention the $15 million ad campaign and the ethnic vote buying monies); the BC Rail sale and scandal; the Fast Ferry give away and the promise of a balanced budget. If I were in the Liberals’ position, I certainly wouldn’t want to have these things as part of a legacy. Would you?

What is the lesson to be learned here, you might ask. Looking back, we allowed 51 per cent of eligible voters to determine our political fate last time. We can blame voter apathy stemming from whatever reasons those who did not vote may give. All of these reasons, from my perspective, are inexcusable, lame-duck reasons. We have a privilege in B.C. and in Canada. How is it that so many of us abuse this privilege and then sit around after the fact to try to justify as to why we didn’t exercise our right to vote?

Well before election day, I encourage everyone to look carefully at parties, individuals and projected platforms before deciding to cast your ballot. Get rid of the “lesser of the two evils” theory. Give credence to those that truly reflect democratic principles. Don’t go in with the fear that voting for a lesser-known party or individual will damage the process.

Vote with head and heart — but make sure that you vote.

Ron Barillaro





Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read