I’m sure I’ll regret this, but I have to say something about the election in British Columbia next Tuesday.
Gordon Campbell and his right-of-centre technocratic Liberal Party have won the last two elections; we’ve had him as Boss for eight years already. His administration had a terrible first term and almost lost the last election. He and his people have been a good deal more pragmatic and reasonable since then, managing the economy well and even developing support among First Nations — a prospect that would have seemed maniacally laughable six or seven years ago.
Of course, there is the Olympics mess. And the administration still carries the reek of corruption and ineptitude that characterized their first term. But who can really replace them?
Carole James and the New Democrats will say, of course, that they are the official Opposition, that they almost won the last election, and they deserve their turn on Tuesday. When issues are being debated, they say all the correct things as left-of-centre social democrats. But this time they know they cannot win on the issues and have simply refused to talk about them. I have seen every one of the NDP’s TV commercials. They have all been 100% American-style negative ads. Not a single second of airtime has been wasted on telling us what the NDP stands for, what it will do in government, what qualities their team bring to the job. Nothing.
If their ads are to be believed, a vote for the NDP is actually a vote against the Liberals. Nothing more. No party that is simply against something can ever be worth voting for.
The Greens are OK, Jane Sterk is impressive, and I hope they get a seat or two. Be great if it was more, but we are a province that loves its polarised head-to-head politics and two major parties fighting it out fit that bill better than three. However, if by some chance they were to get a handful of seats and hold the balance of power, then politics in BC might become really interesting.
As a fully paid-up anarchist, I believe the electoral process to be a sham, an insubstantial sop to the people. However, I like a carnival as much as the next guy, and I usually go along and vote for one of the fringe candidates (No Work Party, Marijuana Party, etc). This time I am disappointed to report that I only have the three major parties running in my riding. Perhaps I will vote for all three as a negative vote against the system.
Update: Somehow I was misinformed about the choices in my riding. I do indeed have the main three parties but we also have the Work Less Party, the People’s Front, and The Sex Party (who apparently live under a rock because their platform is to create a sex-positive culture).