Today is election day in British Columbia. And I'm still not sure who will get my vote. I have never been as uninspired by the list of candidates as I have in this particular election.
And that's saying something, because I can't say I've ever been truly inspired by a single candidate in of the many elections -- four provincial, six federal and two municipal (I'll admit to being lazy when it comes to municipal contests) -- since I became eligible to vote in July 1990.
This is not to say I've never felt strongly about my vote. On the contrary, despite the fact "my" candidate rarely has a chance of winning, (only once have I voted for the winner in either a provincial or federal election -- when the popularity of a former mayor running for the federal Liberals trumped the prevailing Conservative sentiment in my riding), I usually believe I am voting for something, as well as against something else. (Because, sad to say, it's always been about voting against something.)
I can't say that about this election. Yes, I will be voting against something (the BC Liberals, a party that is woefully mis-named), but no matter which of the other available candidates I choose -- a Libertarian, a BC Conservative, a (conservative) Independent, an NDP-er or a Green -- I'm not feeling at all engaged this time around.
Neither of the two I'm wavering between (I'm sure you've already guessed it's between the NDP and the Green) is a strong candidate. And neither of their parties' leaders are at all inspirational.
And then there is the referendum on BC-STV. (Sounds a little dirty, doesn't it?)
I've voted in three referenda in the past: on the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, the Quebec Referendum in 1995, and the (non-binding) Vancouver municipal referendum on the Olympics in 2003. For the record, I voted "No" each time. The latter two were no-brainers for me; and despite the "negative" vote, I believed strongly that my vote was for something important.
The first was trickier, and despite (because?) of the incredible importance of the issue, I wasn't sure which way I would vote until I was behind the screen, ballot in front of me and pencil in hand. It wasn't a comfortable feeling. And I'm still not sure I picked the "right" option.
I feel the same way today. I think we definitely need proportional representation; the first-past-the-post system simply doesn't reflect the electorate's wishes. But I don't think the Single Transferable Vote model is the best possible solution.
So do I vote NDP or Green? "Yes" or "No"? I'm still not sure.
I really should have saved my blues writing mojo for today.