Here’s the thing about democracy - it works the best when people show up.
In 2013 only 55% of British Columbians voted. As I write this, Elections BC has confirmed that 614,389 people have already cast ballots in this election - 19% of all registered voters in the province.
That’s a great sign, but if we’re going to win this election and build a better BC we need everyone to show up. Including you.
Here are three reasons why you need to make sure you take the time to cast a ballot on Tuesday.
1 - This election is super close. And your vote really could make a difference.
Throughout recent history, some elections have been decided by absolutely tiny margins.
In the US Presidential election in 1960, JFK beat Richard Nixon by just 119,450 votes nationwide. In 2000, George W. Bush was awarded the presidency by just 537 votes across three Florida counties, or roughly the same number of people who fit inside a large passenger airplane.
Races were even closer in British Columbia’s last election.
In Delta North, the BC Liberals came out on top with only 203 votes, and in Surrey-Fleetwood, Education Minister Peter Fassbender won his seat by just 200 votes. Then there’s Coquitlam-Maillardville, where the BC NDP’s Selina Robinson won by just 41 votes. That’s a shockingly small number—and a huge opportunity. Which brings us to point #2...
2- We have a real chance to change our electoral system for the better.
It’s not a good sign for democracy when the New York Times is writing huge articles about the BC Liberal’s multi-million dollar fundraising and cash-for-access style of governance. The BC NDP has been trying to get big money out of politics since 2005 — six times so far—and the BC Liberals vote the bill down every single time.
If you help vote the BC NDP into government, one of the first bills they’ll table — if not the very first — is to ban big money from our political system. It’s going to transform how political parties operate in this province, and put business and people on a level playing field for the first time ever. Plus, John Horgan is committed to electoral reform, and has promised a referendum on the type of electoral system British Columbians want to see.
So if you’re interested in an electoral system that gives more parties a chance at power, and keeps big money from buying influence, then it’s time to consider voting for the BC NDP.
3 - Because after 16 years of watching the BC Liberals hand over our resources, tax dollars and reputation to the corporate elite who donate to them, it’s time for a government that really represents regular British Columbians.
I’m going to get a little personal here. I joined the BC NDP this past February after watching the heartbreaking and surprising results of the UK Brexit vote and the US election. I saw what my friends in the United States and the UK were about to go through, and couldn’t imagine something like that happening to me.
Then I really started to think about my life in BC.
I remembered my friends with young kids who go to school in overfilled classrooms and don’t get the special needs assessments and extra support they need to thrive.
I remembered my cousin, the teacher, who spent years off and on picket lines fighting the BC government for the basic services promised to them.
I thought about my mom who waited nearly a year for an MRI after a concussion; and about my brother, sister in law and adorable wee niece who would love to move to a larger apartment, but can’t find any room in a 2 income budget that has to pay a mortgage AND thousands of dollars for child care every month.
I thought about the stories I’ve had the opportunity to write about our province. About shady environmental projects and corporate influence of government. About the never-ending torrent of ways the BC Liberal government finds to enrich their donors and friends, while making life less affordable and less secure for millions of British Columbians. About Roderick MacIsaac, whose family is still waiting for an apology after an unwarranted firing caused him to take his life. About Alex Gervais, who died waiting for any support whatsoever.
All of us deserve better. And together, we can vote for it.