COLUMN: Election decisions not easy for all of us

Some candidates seem to be all about the race, not about the finish line

There must be an easier way to cast a vote.

Every election, I go through a familiar thought process to determine for whom I should mark my ballot. For an incumbent? For a newcomer? Against an incumbent or newcomer?

Many of our neighbours, it seems, don’t go though these mental gymnastics each time we’re called to the polls. The verdict at play, for them, is obvious – as it was in the weeks, months, years and possibly decades leading up to next Tuesday’s provincial election.

These are the people who vote for the party, no matter who’s at the helm provincially and at the rudder locally.

They’re the ones who know that their party of choice is the only one capable of leading our province, and that their leader is the only one worthy of serving as our premier.

That’s not the way my mind works.

I pay attention to the propaganda, advertisements and debates.

And frankly, neither of the big two have won me over this time around with their incomplete messages, extolling their own virtues and castigating the other guy, though, I admit, both have touched a nerve when they talk about whom the other guy is beholden to. I have no ties to big money or big labour, and it would be nice if those who greatly affect my cost of living and quality of life don’t either.

As for their own accomplishments, all I know is I have yet to see evidence of the focus on meaningful, well-paying ‘jobs’ for those closest to me, and I’m all too convinced you don’t have to be in power to effect change.

There are, of course, other options – and other ways to vote.

The choice I will likely make this time around will be to vote for the local candidate, not the party.

But some of the candidates themselves certainly aren’t making that easy.

At the risk of narrowing down what neighbourhood my children and I live in, I will note that I have winnowed my options of who will serve as my MLA down to four.

Sadly, a number of my candidates seem to be all about the race, not about the finish line. And I have to ask, if you have nothing personally to contribute to the quality of debate, why are you running?

For those candidates who still do have a lot to say, I would remind you that time is running out. It does no good to have all the answers, if you’re simply keeping them to yourself, saving them for the right moment. For many voters, that moment is past.

On Tuesday, the only thing certain is that I won’t be voting for the incumbent. And, if you happen to live in the Peace Arch News readership area, neither are you. South of 64 Avenue, there are no incumbents, though there are a number of candidates in three of our four ridings who have held office before, two as recently as this past term but in neighbouring ridings.

Next week it will be a whole new field of play, locally at least. I can only hope the government and opposition learn to play nice.

Lance Peverley is the editor of Peace Arch News.

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