In just over two weeks BC goes to the polls. Political franchise is one of those hard-won privileges that Canadians take for granted, choosing mere words over actions. This is the first time I have been an eligible voter in BC and I am taking my civic duty (and civic right) seriously.
Voting is multidimensional. Some people vote based on ideology, toeing the party line. Personality is important to some — remember how George W. Bush was someone “you could have a beer with?” Demographic similarities such as sex, age, race etc. can make a difference. Issue-based voting accounts for the 19 political parties in BC. Strategic voting is often related to values or issues-based voting. Prejudice and personal bias can play a role too, limiting the viable choices. Of course, there is the idea of “the greater good” which is an oft-cited if subjective reason for voting a particular way. Finally, for the politically savvy is levels analysis: how do local voted affect things at a provincial and federal level?
Considering all of the above I have been trying to learn more about the candidates in my riding of Kelowna-Mission. They are:
Tish Lakes does not have much info out there. This was obviously a last minute nomination with the resignation of Dayleen Van Ryswyk from the NDP. Lakes’s Twitter feed is filled with inanities and her website is brutal. As a web-connected voter, appearance on the web is an important indicator to me. Especially when the candidate has a web-presence beyond the election. It helps me to judge the authenticity of the candidate.
Mike McLoughlin does well in that respect. He has been maintaining a sort of blog for a year. He has a good Twitter following and was the only candidate who replied to my request on Twitter. Furthermore he is an entrepreneur and has listed “Listening to Audio Books” as one of his interests. Sounds like I have a lot in common with him. Too bad his religious activity rubs my bias the wrong way.
Steve Thomson (who didn’t engage on Twitter) is also a business guy and helped establish the Okanagan Innovation Fund which is now the Southern Interior Innovation Fund, something that we in the startup community are very familiar with. His position on fiscal responsibility is also promising, but other than this and his grandchildren, I can’t find much about him.
Finally, the wildcard: the well coiffed Dayleen Van Ryswyk, formerly of the NDP and now running as an independent. She is really the only one with her principles stated on the front page of her website which is admirable. Her promise for advocating shortened wait times for FOI requests actually jives with my federal party affiliation, and her stance on lowering small business taxes would be good for local entrepreneurship. Having an MLA who does not simply parrot the party would be a nice monkeywrench to throw into Victoria. However, she has two strikes against her: she is formerly NDP (there’s my prejudice showing again!) and of course, she is crazy.
So it comes to this: do I vote for the incumbent, who I probably know the least about as a person and whose only negative attribute seems to be his pallidness, utterly lacking in strong political convictions. Or do I try and pull a strategic maneuver? I have no particular love of the national Liberal Party, and as the The Tyee predicts Thomson will win maybe I should overcome my personal prejudice and vote for McLoughlin in the hope of achieving some sort of “balance”. I have yet to decide, but I welcome your arguments either way. See you on the 14th!