I believe our present electoral system is flawed. I hope I will live to see the day when Canada and British Columbia will join the vast majority of global democracies and adopt a proportional system of representation.
All that being said, I honour what system we have. I have voted in every election I have been eligible for — municipal, provincial and federal — in a period spanning more than 40 years. During most of those years, my candidate of choice has not been elected.
So what do I do? Do I throw my hands up in despair? Do I vow never to vote again? Both tempting but pointless gestures. Always I vote with my heart and head fully engaged. I vote for the candidate or party whose policies most closely reflect my beliefs. To do anything less would be to betray my privilege and responsibility as a citizen.
So when I am urged to “vote strategically,” it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Our country and our province have experienced too much of the “politics of fear” in recent years — too many apocalyptic warnings about what would happen if we elected so-and-so. Fear is no sensible guide for conducting a life or bringing about meaningful change.
On May 14, I will not vote for the “safest” or the most “expedient” or even as a gesture of protest; instead I will choose a candidate based on what is right — for me. To my mind, this is the only way genuine, meaningful change can take place — with one person at a time, doing the right thing.
No matter what your political persuasion, on May 14, take fear out of the equation and replace it with hope; vote for the candidate and party that is right for you.