Manners matter

Manners matter

The middle of an election can prove a difficult time to convince people to be on their best behaviour.

So, with the writ set to drop on the 2017 provincial election one week from today, we’re bringing it up now.

Not that the month-long election is an exclusive period for passionate partisans to froth at the mouth — we can see that almost any day of the year.

Still, is it too much to ask for a bit of civility toward the candidates themselves?

Three candidates have declared for the Parksville-Qualicum Beach riding: Liberal incumbent Michelle Stilwell, NDP challenger Sue Powell and Green Party hopeful Glenn Sollit, who ran for federal office in 2015.

These candidates and the parties they represent will hold diverging views on many subjects relating to the governance of British Columbia, and there’s virtually no way you’ll agree on all of them.

Some people will feel so strongly about a particular topic they will feel compelled to take their case to social media, to the letters page in this publication, or to public appearances.

We appreciate an engaged, informed and active electorate. There is no bigger buzz-kill to a democracy than a populace that has checked out.

Heck, the proper degree of enthusiasm can even put someone like Donald Trump in office.

But we respectfully ask that our voters refrain from personal attacks on the individuals who have invested their time, energy and knowledge to offer to serve.

Whatever you think of them, these people are our neighbours.

As the incumbent, Stilwell is a repeat victim of personal attacks that surely have left her with skin the consistency of leather. Powell may well incur similar wrath from those who view all things NDP as a threat to society. Sollitt may simply wish he attracted that kind of attention in a riding traditionally dominated by Liberal and NDP voters.

Our own public comments sections, through The NEWS website and Facebook page, all too often provideds examples of the wrong approach — and the victim doesn’t have to be a public figure.

Disinformation and speculative comments are to be expected in the water-cooler nature of these discussions. That will not necessarily result in a post being pulled.

But calling others an “idiot” or an “imbecile” will.

We welcome your critique of the party platforms in the coming election. And creative solutions are better yet. But leave the name-calling out of it.

Or we will.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News