When the party system fails you…

When you don't know which party to vote for, vote for the individual.

When Canadian journalist and author Walter Stewart was head of the journalism program at the University of King’s College (1984/85) in Halifax, he told us that while he was doing research for his book, Strike!, he asked a UAW leader how the union decided whether to strike. The man told him, “We all throw our lunchboxes up in the air. If they come down, we strike!”

It’s too bad that all decisions aren’t quite that easy to make.

As the next provincial election draws near (May 14) – faster than you may realize, I am hearing from long time party faithfuls that their faith has been shaken, if not downright shattered.

I don’t even have to mention which party, because I know of people from different political parties who have told me they don’t know who they’re going to support this time.

One man held out a party brochure to me on the weekend: “You want to know what the (fill in any of the major BC parties) are doing?” “No,” I said, “I read about it every day in the headlines.” “Exactly,” he said as he tossed the brochure into the garbage can.

What do you do when you take your duty to vote very seriously, but you can’t take any of the parties seriously?

I find that the individual candidates and MLAs are usually far more likeable and honourable than their party. In fact, I really don’t like party politics at all. Parties are too intent on getting and keeping themselves in power. They often forget to listen to the individuals in their party who represent all of us individuals.

On the other hand, it is hard to get 85 individuals to agree on any specific point, let alone the several that BC’s MLAs face in the Legislature.

If you’re turned off by party politics, vote for the individual that you feel can best represent your interests. So far, we have NDP, Liberal, Green and Conservative candidates in our Fraser Nicola riding. Talk to them, ask them questions. Even ask them how much the party influences their decisions.

Vote for the one you think is the best.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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