The electioneering ended, the votes are cast but the final outcome is not with us as yet. The interim is an opportunity to look at the electioneering which brought us to where we stand.
The 2020 BC election campaign was placid on the surface but under it was a noxious political cesspool. It held cowardice, chicanery, bribing, looting and lying. Strong words, of course they are. But if you know milder words to express what happened, or more potent ones to redeem the damage to our burgeoning “Democratic Deficit”, please speak out. A Chamberlain would not handle a task asking for a Churchill. Talking poppycock instead of calling spade a spade is not up to speed with our fast spinning world.
This was a dirty battle in the perennial Party-word-wars. It was started by the reputed beacon of Ethos, the party of Tommy Douglas, Grace MacInnis, Stanley Knowles. That is why causing this selfish election was as surprising as it was. But they did it and they sent political discourse lower than ever, so low that we must not learn to live with it. What is at stake is Democracy, bequeathed us by those to whom we will show our appreciation on November 11.
This, I pray, wakes us up to roll up our sleeves to bring the political system in sync with our times. For unless we move resolutely to stop the decline, things will get worse and more difficult to overcome. It is our lax attitude that the bullies exploit to push us down the slippery slope. Oppressors oppress in small increments sized for us to absorb without causing “revolt”. Many of these become embedded into the “conventional wisdom” becoming hard to dislodge. I will sample the lies:
To fight the pandemic, we need an election to prevent political cockfights in the Legislature, we were told – but there was an unprecedented peace in the Legislature since the last election with no end of it in sight.
Fixed election dates may make us wait to the end of term to terminate a Premier we no longer want and that is generous and dangerous. A Premier is not to beat the system by calling an election to pole-vault him/herself over the termination date. Our right to govern ourselves tramples a Premier’s lust for “job security”.
It is a lie, too, that duly signed inter-party contracts made to beat the system, even if ethically feeble, can be torn up the moment a Premier sees an opportunity to kick in the butt those who made him Premier by force of that contract. Bullying is alien to statesmanship.
It is a lie that a Premier may pilfer money from the Public purse to bribe the Public with, which is what this Premier did. Such demeanor makes “political ethics” an oxymoron.
Another prominent “feature” of this election was the extent that Political Correctness trampled the freedom of speech, this which, bar none, is the taproot of democracy. The candidates aspiring to “lead” us, kept their mouths shut and their tongues idle to the max they could get away with it. When they had to talk, their voice was dripping fear lest they use a word someone, between here and the antipodes may not like. What a sad sight this was.
There is also another facet to this, one that has been kind of staple in past elections. This is the withholding of information the people need to hold the government accountable and to decide their vote.
Not unrelated to Political Correctness and to the dominant concern of the Pandemic was the shallowness and the narrowness of the “issues” on the table. The party bosses kept on promising monies to fight the Pandemic and claiming skills for managing the post-Pandemic economy. The intellectual quotient of the “electoral debate” was nothing to write home about. All except Fusteneau’s suggestion of consideration of the 4-day work week.
The media coverage of the Electioneering was poor too. I do not see any legitimate reason for the media ignoring the 4-day work week. This did not even make the T-C tabulation of the parties platforms published on October 22, i.e. 2 days prior to election. Yet this is of enormous significance to society and throwing it on the table nude and raw could have started the ball rolling.
This review leaves much waiting to be said, but for now this would have to do.