Waters: Get out and vote

Why waste an opportunity to have your say?

This time next week, British Columbians will know who will be running the province for the next four years.

The provincial election goes May 9—but there are opportunities to vote between now and then—so there really is no good reason not to have your say about who gets to govern.

The Liberals are running largely on their record, especially when it comes to projects and services they have funded during the 16 years the party has been in power in B.C. (the last six under current leader Christy Clark.)

The NDP also appears to be running—at least in part—on the Liberals record. But, as to be expected, they paint a very different picture of how B.C has been run.

And the Greens, with nowhere to go but up, appear to be gaining some traction and, see nothing changing if either the Liberals or the NDP form the next government.

And that’s where you, the voter, come in.

The jaded amongst us believe that it doesn’t matter who is in power, politicians are just out for themselves and do not represent their constituents as they are supposed to do.

But, it’s been my experience that the vast majority of politicians are not like that —especially at the start of their political careers.

I have said it before but it is worth repeating: The men and women who step up and enter the political ring, whether at the municipal, provincial or federal level, deserve a lot of credit for doing so.

They take on what is generally a thankless, but important, task. It may sound trite but there are still places in the world where running for public office is akin to taking your life in your hands. As for voting, there are also places in this world where the right we have to vote for our public officials is just a dream for the average person.

So, in the next six days, get out and make your voice heard.

Get to know what the candidates and the parties stand for and make a decision. If you don’t like any of the options, spoil your ballot—at least that will be your way of expressing your political opinion in this election, and it’s a statement. Participate. Vote.

In recent elections we have seen voter turnout drop in many cases. The Liberals have been criticized for having a majority in the last legislative session after 45 per cent of British Columbians stayed home in 2013.

But the simple fact of the matter is history is written by those who show up.

Not having a government is not an option, so one party is going to win, no matter how small the turnout. Do we want our government to be elected by less than half of the population? How about less than 30 per cent? In municipal elections, it has got so bad that 30 per cent is considered a good voter turnout.

That should not be what happens.

You have a voice, use it. Your chosen candidate may or may not win, but your vote still counts. It’s your say.

When it comes to voting, we live in a democracy where the majority rule. But the minority must also be represented. That’s a rule all those running for office, especially if successful, must heed.

So while I tip my hat to those men and women willing to run for office, I also applaud those socially responsible enough to enter the voting booth and make a choice.

To those who can’t be bothered to vote, I ask: What would you say if you were told you can’t vote? Would you be upset? So why waste the opportunity you have?

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.

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