Our votes should not be guided by fear

In many fields there is an overwhelming desire to copy the successes of our American neighbour. From replicating the endless array of startups in Silicon Valley to conducting cutting-edge research, there’s a lot we can learn from America’s example.

It would be a shame, however, if we adopted the intense polarization that characterizes so much of the current unrepentant and unreflective American political discourse.

In this provincial election, there has been a deliberate attempt to create a politics of fear. That fear is based on one of two outcomes: either that a particular party will invariably be a disaster of some sort, or that as individual citizens our votes will somehow be wasted if we fail to vote for the correct opponent.

It is the latter fear, usually referred to as “strategic voting,” that is particularly problematic. The exercise of our democratic franchise for one party or another that we happen to believe in isn’t a problem in an election, it’s a behaviour to be commended.

Votes should be earned, not given, and a higher turnout should be encouraged.

The ability to vote for the candidate of our choice on the day of an election is a freedom that was dearly bought, and around the world there are billions who will never once have the opportunity to do so.

As Canadians, we deserve better than a politics based on resentment and antipathy. The best way to arrive at a future you believe in tomorrow is to support those you believe in today.

Scott Harrison

Qualicum Beach