Friday, May 06, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

Hi All!

My good friend Jennifer has begun blogging and I'm really excited! I've posted her latest entry, with her permission of course, down below. She has hit on a hot-button issue which I think is quite insightful and so very truthful. Please remember to visit her blog for your uncensored news. And as an aside, I know Jennifer to be very polite and one not to mention names but methinks that her post is about an unmentioned Green candidate who doesn't quite get it.

Enjoy folks - Jamie Lee

WE are being TREATED to [or TORTURED by] a Provincial election here in BRITISH COLUMBIA.

I wish all the candidates well. It takes grit and a healthy ego to be able to stand for office these days. There is no question that the public holds an extreme distaste for "politicians?" What was a respected position has been degraded to hardly recognizable.

How did that happen? Where does the distrust come from? What are we looking for in a political representative?

There was a time when politicians were our super stars in Canada. During the 1970s Canada was bringing in great social policy and our leaders were hard working, respected stateswomen and men. Boundaries were being pushed even into the 1980s as the country's values were being entrenched in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guaranteed equal respect and access for all Canadians. We had an on going match with Quebec that would flare up and be quelled like the intermittent strikes at Christmas by Canada Post. Those were interesting times. Canadians could feel safe that our elected officials were dedicated to "standing on guard for we".

Then something changed. In the early 1980s movie stars started being elected in the US, i.e. Ronald Regan and a trend toward creating packaged candidates began. [Note: Rachel Rosenthol was the first to depict this trend in her art video "The Perfect Leader"]. Substance became subverted by shiny surfaces. Any one who wanted power scrambled to get on the wagon. Remember the glitzing up of Preston Manning or Stockwell Day greeting media on a jet-ski? How about the "Ed's Back" video for venerable Ed Broadbent? That was forwarded around the web as much as the list of things the Dalai Lama apparently said about life! I?m all for the use of the Internet and different media of communication to express oneself. My point is that the pursuit of attention has become paramount in politics. I think this is where the problem lies. What this means for candidates is that they are ever in pursuit of attention instead of being grounded in their values and determining how they can contribute to a better day for us all.

The current, although stale, rhetoric is the semblance of consultation with voters so that we can be correctly represented. Even the newest comers to candidacy are parroting the hollow claims that they want to/are consulting voters. There is nothing wrong with this, surely they need to understand the hearts and concerns of people they hope to represent. But if the overall intention is to attract voters, where does this pursuit of views and interests stop?

How do candidates know when to stop when it comes to soliciting and incorporating the views of others? Their pursuit seems unbounded and unfocused and they appear chaotic trying to appease everyone. What I don't see are people displaying a clear set of core values and speaking from a grounded foundation of heart-felt integrity that would give me confidence.

How can we trust candidates and incumbents when they cannot display core personal values that are consistently represented in what they do and say and who they do it with and say it to?

The next time a candidate smiles and glad hands you, ask them: "What the hell do you stand for"?? Listen, if you get an authentic answer, you'll know. Good luck everyone.

Jennifer C


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