Voters must focus on political choices

Stakes are too high in the provincial election for British Columbians to sit on the sidelines

The 2013 provincial election will be one of the most important in a generation. At a time when the economy is in slow motion, yet demands on the public purse are increasing, voters need to pay attention to who’s running.

Of course, we say this for every election — to no avail. Last time around, in the 2009 provincial election, only about 50 per cent of voters bothered to cast a vote. Who is to blame and will things be any different this year?

It’s hard to say. Is it negative advertising that turns people off? B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix says so and has promised a more positive campaign. But will that end indifference or will people turn away from boredom?

Is it helplessness and apathy that keep people from the polls? Many simply don’t connect with government. B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark has tried to be a populist premier, hoping to appeal to the hockey mom, but has failed to attract women’s support, pundits say. Why?

Perhaps B.C. voters simply distrust anything politicians say.

Clearly there is a disconnect and the media may have contributed to this malaise by blowing every little incident out of proportion. As in the story of the boy who cried wolf, many voters simply tune out after a while, yet, sadly, when there is a real issue, many voters simply don’t see the connection between their vote and government policy.

Instead, they leave the field to special interest groups to hijack the results. Truth is, politicians will only be accountable if we hold them accountable. We have a right to toss any of them out if they don’t do what they promised, so voters need to pay attention to what politicians say and they need to find out who they are.

Over the next few weeks, the Western News will be covering the election with information from our local candidates. The rest is up to you.

— Black Press