Background · Our Provincial Government has for some years been run by the BC Liberals (warning: Flashturbation), who, despite their name, are the most conservative of the mainstream parties. They are not in the slightest lovable; arrogant message-control obsessives with 100% of the power centralized in the boss’ office. There have been alarming symptoms of US Republican ideology observed in unguarded moments. On the other hand, they haven’t been a terrible government, and have even started showing faint signs of environmental awakening.
The opposition, and only plausible alternative government, is the BC NDP. The NDP are social democrats at least in theory, sprawling across the mushy centre left. They have a history of forming pretty good provincial governments here and there across Canada. Unfortunately, their last shot here in BC wasn’t one of those; the party is still recovering from the self-inflicted wounds.
The NDP is clearly nicer than the Liberals, for what that’s worth; and nobody suspects them of closet Republicanism. I’m mad at them, though, because they’ve made it obvious over the last couple of years that, for them, environmental issues are tactical, not strategic, and when they consider them, their first thought is what will play well. I’m not going to bore my mostly non-local audience with details of the NDP sins, but I can’t see anyone reasonably disagreeing with my core conclusion: that the NDP has been acting like Green issues are about tactics and positioning.
On Being Green · Here’s the thing: Our economy is hurting; but not that bad. Our health-care system costs too much; but nobody has a magic bullet to fix that. We have crime issues, overwhelmingly narcotics-driven; but no mainstream politician has the courage to stand up and say “The war on drugs is over, we lost, let’s legalize and regulate and take the money (really an astoundingly huge amount of money) out of the bad guys’ pockets”.
Simultaneously, we are squandering our portion of the Earth’s gifts, and by any measure, we are way overweight in our contributions to testing the world’s temperature-control system to destruction with by frivolous carbon-overloading. Unlike those other problems, we can do something about the environmental issues. We can do it soon and we can afford to do it and there are good reasons to think we can’t afford not to.
Yep, the Greens have some mildly wacko planks in their platform, but they’re serious about the environment and far saner than the competition on drugs and crime. So, they get my vote.
The problem is, we’re in a tightly-contested riding and the Greens are probably not going to win it. So a Green vote, tactically speaking, can be seen as a vote for the Liberals.
Well, tough shit. If it takes losing a winnable election to teach the NDP to get serious about the world we live on, that’s what it takes.
Voting Reform · I’ve been kind of on the fence about the Single Transferable Vote thing. The results we’ve got over the years with mouldy ol’ first-past-the-post haven’t been terrible, but on the other hand there are plenty of ugly anomalies. So I’ve been leaning in favor, and I’ll admit some part of that is engineer’s curiosity: Let’s give this thing a whirl and see how it works.
But a full-page ad in the local paper knocked me off the fence a few days ago. It was from the anti-STV campaign, and it was disgusting. It was a litany of fearmongering, demagoguery, and, I thought, on several points skated way over the line into outright-lie territory. If the arguments against it are that sleazy and pernicious, that has to be seen as evidence in favor.