As someone who had to be strong-armed into registering to vote in BC’S provincial general election this year by a coworker, maybe I’m not the best person to tell you to follow in our footsteps and be all active in your riding and whatever.
But if you’re like me and you normally have too much going on in your life to make casting a vote your priority, I do actually have a vested interest in convincing you to cast a vote by May 9. Let me tell you why.
If you’re the “deplore everything about your city and life” kind of person, you have got to maintain your credibility by voting for whomever sucks the least. How could you complain about the government doing ugly things if you simply stood by and allowed some complacent rich guy in a toupée, who doesn’t care about you or your problems, to become your representative Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)?
(Disclaimer: I don’t know if any candidates in any ridings are in fact complacent rich males in toupées. It’s a metaphor, and I hope none of you close-read this into being a subtweet.)
MLAs are supposed to be all about representing their riding’s people in debates and discussions, playing watchdog against the rest of the government and their spending, reviewing bills, and otherwise having a presence that serves their riding’s best interests.
Put simply, as with most government positions, voting ups the chance that you’ll get a government you want — or at least the one that is least terrible. This is why, when people claim that they won’t vote because “all of the candidates are bad,” I say, well, you’ve got to learn about a little concept called damage control.
About 100 million Americans didn’t vote last year, and look who’s pulling their strings now. Sometimes, you need to use your vote to choose the frying pan over the fire.
Voting is especially important if you live in a swing riding like North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Vancouver-Fairview, or Surrey-Tynehead, because your vote plays a bigger role in figuring out whether your overall provincial government ends up being the BC Liberals again, the New Democrats, or someone else entirely.
Regarding this election particularly, remember that we’re in the midst of a wild time for our potential national climate strategy, the omnipresent housing crisis, Kinder Morgan, and a ton of other controversial matters. Though not all of these are issues the new government is guaranteed to be able to fix, it’s undeniable that what happens here will most certainly affect BC’s path forward.
I agree that in some ways, provincial politics are a little inaccessible. Educating yourself fully on the candidates and parties at play is not as easy as you might wish, because the relevant information like platforms and the voting process are — while pretty easy to find through the Elections BC website or Google — difficult to feel engaged with because they’re not always designed with consumability or appeal in mind.
But frankly, as much as we wish otherwise, candidates and elections officers don’t owe us a “fun” campaign period. We do owe it to ourselves not to shoot ourselves in the foot by ignoring what’s happening around us, though.
Perhaps there’s no immediate benefit to you from casting a ballot, but it’s smart to think long-term and appreciate the democracy that our society is built on. Try to be grateful that you have a right that’s been denied to people in countries across the world and in our own past, and vote.