The search for the new MLA in Kootenay West is well under way. Finally there are options that go beyond the historic party politics that have caused so much voter apathy in our province: an independent. But how is an independent any better?
People say they would love to vote for an independent but they feel it would be “throwing their vote away.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to realize that a party based vote is choosing the historic framework of governance that is failing us, especially in rural settings. The parties they are choosing from are all guilty for ignoring the voice of the people and choosing to keep power and consideration as far from the people as possible.
Consider the contentious issues we are challenged with in the Kootenays. An independent is free to floor any concerns or propose any bills that the people wish. Your independent MLA is free to cooperate with all parties in Victoria, taking the best from each.
An MLA in a party must receive approval for any comment from the caucus first. Party members speaking against their own party’s policies are almost unheard of. If it does happen, that individual is sent to the back never to be heard from again. Not the independent. No approval is needed and the independent is free to support or speak against what ever the people wish.
The Kootenays are unique. We are people who do what we can to improve the world we live in. We all want to see the politics of this province change to be more representative, accountable to the people and the environment. Change cannot happen unless we are willing to acknowledge the potential and support it.
This year we need to choose the best representation for ourselves. A battle for our valley is beginning this year and there is no party out there that will represent them loudly, let alone take a solid stand on the Columbia River Treaty. This is the time that we need someone free from the muzzling of party politics. The NDP and Liberals will continue their fight for power and adversarial voting.
If ever we needed Independent representation, it must be now or the terrible deal we were handed in the 60s will only happen again and the Americans will have fully integrated themselves into our resources. And finally we need local solutions to local problems, if we wait for parties or government to lobby for our needs we may lose to much ground, and too many families.
I am confident that an Independent representative for the West Kootenays will create an example of hope and democracy for all of British Columbia.