Party politics a problem for province

Osoyoos writer says time to stand up for ourselves in B.C. and not let democracy is slipping away.

If the battle we had to fight the HST taught us anything, it proved that with enough people standing together, good organization and the right tools (Initiative and Recall Act and the computer), citizens could force government to change their unpopular policies and think twice before ignoring the electorate again.

In light of the upcoming provincial election, we need to address the most critical issues we face. Some will say the main issue in the upcoming election is the economy (jobs), others will say the deficit, health care or the environment.

Of course, all of these are critical issues. But we are missing the point if we fail to see that the greatest issue has to be the protection of our democracy.

We have been led to believe that we live in a democracy, and that, in B.C., we exercise our democratic right every four years in May. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The underlying problem is the current party system. MLAs can promise all they want before an election. They’ll listen to the concerns of their constituents and vow to “represent” us upon election.

That all goes out the window because MLAs are forced to vote along party lines or be ousted. There is no room for independent thought in the party system, and that is the flaw. That is where democracy is abandoned.

Candidates may swear on their integrity and honour on the way in, but that integrity and honour crumbles under the party system, leaving the constituents abandoned.

Incredibly, candidates know this, and so do we, yet they still accept their nominations and we still go to the polls to vote. Just how much character do new candidates have when they jump at the chance to join a government that has proven itself to be inept, corrupt and deceitful?

British Columbians are largely fed up with politics and a majority are cynical of candidates entering the race. We wonder at the motives a candidate has in putting his or her name forward: Money, a big pension, perks, prestige and power?

According to a recent study by the Retail Council of Canada, one main reason we have higher prices for products in Canada is simply because we are used to paying higher prices. Do we have poor politics in B.C. because we are used to having poor politics? Whose fault is that? Ours.

Without proper, independent oversight and true transparency, governments have the green light to act irresponsibly with no accountability. And governments are often re-elected despite their poor records, so where is the incentive for political parties to change? There is none.

Lobbyists with their bottomless wallets have more influence over governments than taxpayers because we accept this lying down. It’s time we had a powerful citizens group to lobby for the rights of taxpayers. Strong public will and good organization can make this happen.

We have to remember that we “hire” our governments, so why do we allow them to forget this? They demonstrate no foresight and have no accountability and still get hired for the job. And we can’t fire these employees for four years? They can do a lot of damage in four years, eight years, 12 years.

Who else can waste or mismanage the company’s funds? Who else has unsupervised expense accounts? Who else can enter into contracts and then choose to ignore them? Who else can sidestep regulatory commissions in order to satisfy ‘big money’ corporations? Who else can – almost daily – practice deception or invent facts to suit themselves? Who else can skirt the law with impunity?

To add insult, the next party about to be elected can ask: “If we want to, can we do all the destructive things our predecessors did and more, and still get re-elected?” The answer, sadly, is “Yes we can.”

Unfortunately, it can take two or three terms in office before a bad party and terrible leadership go down with the ship aptly called the “SS Finally.” Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Demand accountability from the next government. Stand up for yourselves and your democracy. It’s slipping away.

Paul McCavour and Julie Turner

Osoyoos

Just Posted

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Penticton man takes the plunge for recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read