EDITORIAL: Time to pay attention

Citizens should take the time to educate themselves in time for election

The 2013 provincial election will be one of the most important in a generation.

Of course, we say this for every election — to no avail. Last time around, in the 2009 provincial election, only about 50 per cent of voters bothered to cast a vote.

Who is to blame and will things be any different this year?

It’s hard to say. Is it negative advertising that turns people off? BC NDP leader Adrian Dix says so and has promised a more positive campaign.

Is it helplessness and apathy that keep people away from the polls? Many people simply don’t connect with government. BC Liberal leader Christy Clark has tried to be a populist (pandering?) premier, appealing to the hockey mom vote, but has failed to attract women’s support, pundits say. Why?

Clearly there is a disconnect and the media may have contributed to this malaise by blowing every little incident out of proportion. As in the story of the boy who cried wolf, many voters simply tune out after a while, yet, sadly, when there is a real issue, such as lack of funding for transit, many eligible voters simply don’t see the connection between their vote and government policy.

Instead, they leave the field to special interest groups — business, unions, lobbyists — to hijack the results.

The truth is that politicians will only be accountable if we hold them accountable. We have a right to toss any of them out if they don’t do what they promised so voters need to pay attention to what politicians say and they need to find out who they are.

Over the next few weeks, The Mission Record will be covering this region’s two ridings with information from our local candidates. The rest is up to you.