British Columbia’s polls will close tonight at 8 p.m. But don’t think of it as an ending.
The past four weeks have been a flurry of activity. Local candidates have deferred luxuries like, say, sleep, in favour of door-to-door visits, all-candidates meetings, public event appearances and visits to Parksville-Qualicum by their party leaders.
Residents who tried to keep their heads down and avoid the issue quickly lost that battle as soon as they turned on their television sets. Supporters of B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark and her B.C. NDP counterpart, John Horgan, turned the airwaves into their personal battlefield. Regrettably, the advertising cycle produced more heat than light, as attack ads seemed to predominate.
Hey, at least we don’t have the open-ended U.S. campaign cycle. We expect to be hearing from Donald Trump’s 2020 opponent any day now.
Still, while Canada’s election cycle is mercifully brief — at least by comparison — the real business of governance takes no break. And as citizens, neither should we.
The most ardent of volunteers who worked for candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum and the Mid Island-Pacific Rim ridings are probably already inclined to remain active and involved in the issues year-round — whether or not their candidate moves on to sit in the next legislature.
With any luck, the recent campaign drew a few more of those eager beavers into the process. Hopefully more young people.
By its very definition, democracy needs the engagement of The People to function. We’re not all going to see our preferred party in power starting May 10, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a say in the running of B.C. going forward.
Your local MLA will have a constituency office and staff there to serve. If there’s something you don’t like about the decisions the government is making on your behalf, share it.
If you do, keep in mind solutions and options provide far more valuable feedback than loud complaints. And if you’ve got a bunch of friends who feel the same way, so much the better. There is strength in numbers.
When you check out of the system, the “other guy” will get the ear of the MLA or the cabinet minister.
If you feel the election itself remains the key, we hope you’ve voted early or are on your way now. The polls close at 8 p.m.
The election may end then. But the work is just beginning. — Parksville Qualicum Beach News