“I have never been a calm blue ocean… I have always been the storm.” Saw this phrase on a t-shirt the other day and I loved it instantly. From the time I was little, it has always been my nature to feel passionately and care deeply. Insatiably curious, I like to stir the pot, challenge the status quo when it’s needed and generally try to make everyone think a little bit harder about whats going on in the world around them.
Patience however, has been a trait I have conscientiously had to foster over the years and has come mainly from: A) being a mother….B) age…..and C) wisdom. I’ve learned you don’t need to bark at every dog that goes by, that silence can be just as powerful as words and that in order to beat your opponent you need to know as much about yourself as you do them. Politically speaking that is 😉
When the decision was made to finally move to the island, it wasn’t just a location that was changing, it was a conscious decision on my part to live the rest of my life with purpose – something I have written about in past months. And if you were to go back through this blog and look beyond the words written here over a decade, you would see not only the transformation of myself as a woman finding her place in this world, but as a writer, a political citizen and activist as well.
I’m not the same person I was even a year ago, let alone 10 years ago. My growth in one month last summer living on the mountain was greater than my growth in years. Times change and people do too…if they want to continue growing that is. You have to be willing to reconsider past beliefs and current ones too. And when old ideals no longer fit or seem to be working, you must be ready to find out why and evolve.
A little history. The first full election that I blogged through was in 2009. And that was deemed at the time a critical election for the NDP to win to ‘save BC’. Campbell’s cuts before the 2010 Olympics were deep. The other bloggers and I worked as hard as we could to get info out, blogging, writing… all in our spare time. For free.( we still do) Because we loved it.Those were the good old days…
As long time readers know,following that election I even met with Carole James in Vancouver to talk about running as a MLA with the NDP in the next election. To me at that time, despite not even being a member, it seemed worthy to pursue. Campbell had slashed personal income taxes to levels unheard of and the resulting hole that put in government revenue was never filled. Funny thing those tax cuts. Taxes are income for the government. If you cut taxes without having a replacement source of income, you create a lot of problems. What happens? Cuts to services.
But in the following years of blogging in my spare time,writing of decade long court cases where judges called the Ministry of Transportations actions nearly criminal, and the glory days of SNC Lavalin, things began to become clearer. A lot of things that should have been issues…were not. Silence reigned on many as I began to discover that influence finds its way into everything, regardless.
I don’t recall specifically what was ‘the’ defining moment that I realized I could never, would never submit to any party line that went against what was best for a constituency, and it doesn’t really matter. But I began to realize that the left versus right way we do government doesn’t get the best results for the people. And from growing up in the north, through talking with and becoming friends with readers on my blog from all walks of life, from all over BC, I knew I wasn’t alone.
During this time I made the leap from political blogger to commentator and pundit, eventually taking on the weekly debate column with 24Hours Vancouver that essentially pitted left against right on hot issues of the day. I began to look harder not only at the workings behind the Liberals but inside the NDP as well. During the 2013 election I still blogged on issues I felt were really important..but I knew the NDP were not going to win and said so a few weeks out on the Philip Till show.. yes, he was still on air there or at least filling in for someone.
Everyone said I was crazy. But I could see how then how little Dix appealed to the public. I could see a campaign that was wonky and disconnected. And I could see it was all over. And it was.
As someone who deeply, deeply cares for this province and more-so, the people in it who live here, it was incredibly disheartening because I saw it coming like a train wreck. And to see so many great MLA’s who work so hard, so devastated was even harder. But it was so very clear then as it very clear still to me now, that the Liberals had crafted the NDP into a box they could not campaign out of. To be honest, despite a wealth of facts to show where policy has gone so terribly wrong, I am still not confidant the NDP can overcome that box the Libs built around them.
Fast forward to 2016 and a life changing move to the island. An island that the Liberals ignored for years and they know it, hence the island specific strategy in this election. Suffice it to say that strategy seems to consist of doling out vast amounts of cash in strategic areas and to business associations whose members suffer greatly during the winter months when tourism is all but gone save in Tofino or Victoria. But good paying jobs are growing even scarcer and with such tunnel vision being driven by outside interests with no direct connections to our communities, cash only goes so far.( More on this in weeks to come)
All this, scandals and more…yet I have not been blogging as much. I am enjoying weekends and my new community that is filled with a growing progressive business community that ‘gets it’. Readers are freaking out. Where is Laila? Why isn’t she blogging like a madwoman?
Emails are flying. But the reason why I am not blogging incessantly with an election in the offing as I have in past elections, has a lot to do with what wisdom I have gained over the years. Frankly, its wasted time spent right now.
Trump has taken over so much of the interest of even the most disinterested citizen. For a while, even I woke up every day wondering what new horror the orange one had tweeted at 3 am. I started wondering if I could learn enough to create an app that would prevent self absorbed,infantile leaders with dictatorship qualities from actually tweeting.. kind of like there should be an app that prevents people from dialing their exes when they are drunk, or texting crushes at in the wee hours in a similar state. No, I never did that but someone else sure did once…
I digress, but only a bit.
The election is coming in May. It’s only February. March brings spring break and many will be occupied for a week or two with fun, sun and rest. And in all honesty most average people won’t be paying too much attention until April. I’m not killing myself blogging it all out now when no one but the regular poli-geeks are listening and paying attention.It’s kind of like shouting to yourself in the mirror.
That is the value of past elections from my perspective. Know when it counts. Trust me when I say I have my own strategy this time and am no longer waiting for BC to ‘be rescued’…ie…waiting for an NDP win that still may not happen. I feel like I have a strong understanding of people in BC and how and why they vote the way they do… or not vote at all. And I plan to harness that understanding in the best way I can.
In the political world 24 hrs can mean the difference between winning and losing. Two months is a lifetime. What often happens in the voting booth is a last second decision based on gut or whose name sounds most familiar… little to do with the policies and there is ample research to support this. The work now on all sides belongs to candidates getting that name recognition to elicit a reaction in the voting booth. Establishing rapport with their voters and since polls show NDP and Libs neck and neck… trying to reach those undecided voters who aren’t buying what they are selling yet.
Which is where the Indies, the Greens and new parties like Your Political Party are gaining interest. In the coming weeks before the new List of reasons Why the BC Libs need to go comes out, I’ll be simply trying to get out the vote and get people interested in the election. More than ever, those people in the middle who are just like me, may decide the future of this province.. either by voting or once again feeling so disinterested they just don’t care. If you can get their attention… you may have found the goose that laid the golden egg.
Until then,stay focused and try to engage new people every day in non-threatening political dialogue…ie… don’t call them an ass for not automatically voting for the party you support! 🙂