Whenever an Election (at any Governmental level) rolls around, I always think of my Dad.
He was a life-long radio producer (BBC Radio, United Church Broadcasting, CKWX & CBC) who LOVED the politics of the day.
I’m not sure what he would think of today’s brand of politics, but that isn’t what this post is about.
He covered the BC Legislature for many years, and got to know and respect many of the MLAs.
One of the things he respected most, was how members of different parties could go hammer and tongs at one another in the “House”, and go to a bar after session, and continue the discussion, to try to work to a reasonable and acceptable compromise, that moved the issue at hand, forward. Now, it didn’t always work that way, but generally, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Today, the process seems to be just as much about scoring points against your opponent, as getting the work done.
I wonder how much of that is because there is an “us or them” mentality that seems to have been adopted from US politics.
When I was young, there were Conservative, Liberal, Social Credit and NDP MLAs.
Today, Provincially, we have (apart from a few Independent MLAs) a two party system.
I don’t know that it wouldn’t be a good idea to have different people, with different ideas, join in the discussion.
It certainly can’t make things in Victoria any LESS functional.
And yes, under the current system, which doesn’t allow for representational voting, that may cause some vote splitting.
So what ? *
I have always believed that I should vote for the individual who will best represent me, at whatever Governmental level they are campaigning for.
As I’m working with Elections BC, I’ve already cast my vote for the individual that I feel is best suited to work for my needs. In this case, they are from one of the two major parties.
If I lived in Maple Ridge-Mission or Mission-Abbotsford, I would be voting for individuals from OUTSIDE the two major parties.
When discussing issues, people don’t generally see things in black and white… there are a LOT of different colours in between. (Including us Grays)
I think it will be interesting to see the results of the election. Hopefully we will get a Legislature that is made up of many voices… from different parties… and having different ideas.
In that case, the different groups would have to work together, to find common ground, if there is to be progress.
And be a little bit more like the Legislature my Dad worked at… where opponents were still adversaries, but had a common goal, to get things done, as well as they could be done.
My fingers are crossed !!!
Please remember to get out and vote on Election Day !!!
* So what…
I know some folks may say that I’m “ignoring the big picture” when I brush aside any discussion of vote splitting and concerns about votes “not counting”, if you don’t vote for one of the two major parties.
1) Anyone who votes isn’t throwing away your vote.
2) I believe I am looking at a longer time frame than most, because, in this way, people will increasingly see that the “first past the post” system, works to support a two party system, rather than reflecting the diversity of voices of the general public. Hopefully we will reach the tipping point on this issue, soon. (You can read more on the first past the post voting system, on Wikipedia , here)
3) The sooner that people realize that the current voting system doesn’t reflect the will of the people, and only serves to maintain an “us or them” system, the faster the discussion can begin about what system would better reflect the diversity of opinions that our Province and Nation actually has. (In this area, I am not claiming to know enough to speak to which system would be best, or the details of how it SHOULD work. I voted YES to the Single Transferable Vote referendum, a few years back, but not enough people understood how the system worked, so it was defeated, but I hope that the discussion will continue. (You can read more on the Single Transferable Vote system, on Wikipedia , here)
Through discussing what voting system would work better, and looking at other examples of Voting reform that have been implemented around the world, our Governments can only get more responsive and more accountable, as they are elected to reflect the many diverse voices and viewpoints that the public have.
The 70’s were a different time.
My Father worked for many years, for CBC Radio. He was Executive Producer of West Coast Affairs, which meant he was responsible for many things… but for an eight year old boy, the most exciting thing he was responsible for, was overseeing the broadcast of the Proceedings from the BC Parliament in Victoria. To a young boy, Victoria was a strange and exotic land. Occasionally, my Dad would talk to my Mom, and I would get taken out of School for a few days, and my Dad and I would jump in our Volkswagen Westphalia Camper, and head for the Capital City. As we lived in Vancouver, it meant getting up early… (I would sleep in the back, or read Hardy Boys Books) …drive to Tsawwassen… pick up Bob Spence… (another CBC fellow) and get on the BC Ferry, for the hour and a half journey to Victoria, on Vancouver Island.
Early trips, we stayed at the Crest Motel… a motor lodge that was on the edge of Downtown. I think for the first few trips, because I was young, and a quiet, shy boy, I would mostly stay in the room, during the day, and once my Dad’s work was done, we would go exploring. Thunderbird Park, with the exotic Totem Poles ! Going on the Tally Ho horse-drawn Carriages ! Many wonderful adventures.
Over the years, once or twice a year, I would get taken out of School, and for a Thursday and Friday, we would venture to Victoria. My dad would go to work in the Parliament Buildings, and I would be set loose upon the town.
It was a very different time, because I don’t imagine ANY parents today would think to allow an unsupervised 10 year old, to be free to wander the streets of a strange city all day ? I don’t think it would happen. But back then, it was it’s very own education. I would spend HOURS in the Royal BC Museum… looking at the dioramas of Fort Langley, being in awe at the enormity of the Woolly Mammoth, and being dumbfounded at the tiny confines of the crew quarters on the HMS Discovery.
I would wander, never touching, but looking curiously, through the many fancy China Shops.
Press my nose up against the glass of the Roger’s Chocolate Shop… (too rich for my young palate) Marvel at the history of my Scottish Ancestry in the Tartan Shop… (Buchanan) Spend hours looking at the amazing architecture of the buildings… and I loved The Empress Hotel with its beautiful glassed in Conservatory.
I grew up in Kerrsidale, which had a certain homogenous continuity to it. In Victoria, I would poke through the streets and alleys, and wonder at the amazing variety of Businesses, that would co-exist, adjacent to one another. The Pig & Whistle Pub, next to a souvenir Store, a few doors down from a store selling boat and marine equipment, near to an attraction called Miniatureland. And Union Jacks, EVERYWHERE !!!
At the end of each days’ adventure, I would inevitably be late, and would rush up the stairs and into the BC Parliament Buildings, past the paintings, the murals, the statues, and down the corridor into the dingy old offices that the Press used.
Upon a few occasions, when Session had been adjourned early, my Dad would take me, and with a nod to the Sergeant At Arms, we would wander into the Legislative Chambers. I was struck at the time, how the desks and chairs of our Governmental Leaders, were not dis-similar from the wooden desks and chairs of my Elementary School… complete with doodling on the scraps of left over paper…
I wish I had been more taken with the Chamber itself, but at the time, it was somewhat threadbare and sad, and even as a child, it reminded me of visiting someone’s house that had at one time been grand, but was now fallen on tougher times, a bit tattered and frayed at the edges and straining to retain the vestiges of its once-held splendor.
(There was a massive restoration done in 1973, and my visits took place prior to that)
The next year, I got a paper route, and because of that, sadly I was no longer able to go away with my Dad, as I was a guy with responsibilities.
But I shall always think back fondly to the days I spent in Victoria, and my time in the BC Legislature, and wonder at the courage of my Father to set a young child loose in a strange town, where I had no safety net, but gained a set of experiences, and a sense of curiousity and wonder, that I hope I still hold, today.
Thanks Dad !!!