Friday, December 03, 2010


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The public has recently had front row seats regarding the shenanigans being played out on the front pages of every mainstream news outlet regarding the old-line political parties who are engaged in battle but sadly, not in battle in support of the public.

The BC Liberals marginalized one of their own caucus members because the MLA had the audacity to challenge his Leader, asking the leader to step aside in favour of new leadership.

Just as this Liberal in-fighting was winding down, up rose the BC NDP with an internal battle of their own which spilled out into the living rooms of the people.

Jenny Kwan, the longest serving caucus member of the NDP, Jenny Kwan challenged the NDP Leader and as a result is now awaiting her fate. Sycophants within this party are calling for Ms Kwan's head and doing their best to marginalize her. So far 12 other caucus members are supporting Ms Kwan so marginalizing her will not be easy.

What has been happening for quite some time now is that these political parties which govern themselves in such a fashion as to not allow political dissent which creates major problems. You must maintain caucus solidarity vis-a-vis you must obey the Leader or else.

Screw the thought of representing your constituents. Instead you must be beholden to the party executive or the special interests which call the shots in your party.

In terms of the NDP it is big unions who seemingly call the shots and with the BC Liberals it is the big corporate elite. This also plays true at the municipal level where the stakes are even higher and big money now controls the elections and the elected representatives pander to those funding them.

Gone are the days when we thought local politics was closest to the people.

The public is well informed and sees what is going on and consequently are getting very weary of the lack of representation and the eroding of democracy.

Voter turn-out is at an all time low and we are moving closer to 50 percent of eligible voters casting ballots at the provincial level and at the municipal level a paltry 25-30 percent of the electorate bothers to vote.

A continual refrain from citizens is that it doesn't matter who you vote for now-a-days, they are all the same. After they are elected they change and break their promises is a continual chorus.

So in terms of the actions of someone like Jenny Kwan who is actually challenging her leader to collaborate and to refrain from back-room deal-making, while this is a constructive and positive move, however, it may be too late as the public have tuned out in droves.

What is needed is re-engagement with the public. The citizens interests are best served by those who first and foremost serve the public interest and stand up for the greater public good.

We must strive for real democracy. What we have is pseudo democracy and how we regain the public trust is only going to happen when we walk away from supporting the old-line political parties and instead embrace new ideas and most importantly restore honesty back into politics.

The best way to achieve fair and balanced political representation is to institute publicly-funded elections and change our system to one of direct democracy.

Jamie Lee Hamilton