The outcome demonstrates that I put too much faith in political polls and was too attentive to people followed in social media and real life. Beyond that, perhaps I had excessive faith in fellow citizens. After all, nearly half of the people registered to vote in BC didn’t bother to show up at the polls. As a result, the Liberals hold power despite being affirmed by fewer than 16% of the provincial population. That is particularly disheartening. My father and uncles served in WWII; my grandparents, mother and aunts served at home. They treasured the right to stand against tyranny and influence public policy by voting. They also passed regard for democratic responsibilities to their children. Apparently, most of my generation didn’t convey the messages any further.
People who took time to investigate and evaluate knew that BC Liberals were beyond the best before date. Well beyond. I was certain and I assumed other informed people would also be certain. However, not enough folks made efforts to be informed. They bought the messages provided by wealthy media moguls or were distracted, watching Real Housewives of Dawson Creek or similar video trash.
MSM stalwart Keith Baldrey noted a few weeks back that social media participants spend much time talking to themselves and thereby misunderstand the political landscape and overestimate their collective influence. If that is a charge for me to answer, I reluctantly plead guilty.
Bob Mackin wrote a fine examination of the 2013 election. Without doubt, Adrian Dix and the NDP opposition snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It would be easy to blame Brian Topp, the Ontario strategist who, weeks before voting day, partnered in a consulting enterprise with Christy Clark allies Boessenkool and Guy. To all besides BC’s would-be Premier, the move confirmed reservations about Topp’s judgement and commitment.
Adrian Dix is the person who tolerated Brian Topp’s presence. Dix decided it was best to stay quiet about specific Liberal corruption and Dix underlings instructed all to avoid a focus on major misdeeds of the opponents. Business people who provided documentary evidence of wrongdoing to the NDP opposition wondered why it was ignored and never heard about again. Whistle blowers in the NDP’s 2013 world were not welcome. The party’s aristocracy was waiting for the coronation they believed to be certain.
Long time political observer Norman Spector recently reminded us that politicians seldom examine the flimflammery of predecessors because tradition demands that sleeping dogs lie undisturbed when governments change. Adrian Dix misunderstood the custom; he thought the entire game should be played with softballs, even while opponents aimed hardballs at his head. The sad lesson is that people don’t expect decency from politicians.
Before election night, I was told that BC Liberals were short of volunteers and, in most communities, reliant on paid staff for campaigning. I learned subsequently that despite rumours and dreams of endless volunteers, many NDP candidates faced similar difficulties. Like the Liberals, they had too few bodies but, unlike the Liberals, they had too few dollars. That was a perfect situation for the corporate welfare bums who who believe that paying for politicians results in the absolute best possible returns on investment.
Party workers who might have volunteered in earlier days now spend time on social networks, thinking they have contributed adequately. They don’t bother to join the door knocking enterprises or the other tough work of running for office.
Dix is not entirely to blame. The NDP is not a vessel that can find calm seas. They’ve been defined by their enemies and the country’s most brilliant strategists might not alter the situation. Perhaps the Green Party is best equipped to represent grass roots. To do that, they must avoid being captured by big business movements and large labour unions; difficult tasks when huge dollars are offered. To be meaningful, Greens must represent ordinary citizens of British Columbia and their future generations. Neither of BC’s major parties seem intent on doing that now.