From the Sidelines

Oct. 18, 2020

UPDATED – Finger pointing has always been a big part of election campaigns, and this one is no different. For three years the BC Liberals kept hammering at John Horgan. Virtually every utterance from the party found a way to include a negative jab at Horgan.

The NDP were quiet on that tactic, until the election was called. Now it’s a merciless attack on Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson to the point they were telling him which candidates were acceptable to remain in the race for the Liberals.

There were three instances where the NDP disagreed with the political stance of Liberal candidates. One of those espoused what many would consider far-out views on birth control while the others had in the past opposed rainbow sidewalks. It was more of a morality lecture.

There was high indignation from the NDP – Wilkinson must remove those candidates, as they were unacceptable according to NDP standards. Why should the NDP demand their removal? One would think it would be advantageous to have them remain on the ballot so the voters could make that determination.

As was the case on the TV show “Laugh-in”, the fickle finger of fate has a habit of biting back. When you point fingers, you should keep in mind that three of your own fingers are pointing right back at you. Therefore it was rather rich that Horgan would be in the crosshairs over one of his own candidates, veteran Nathan Cullen, who derided and belittled a First Nations candidate in a northern riding. 

The NDP rejected the nomination bid of an Indigenous woman in favor of Cullen, contrary to party policy which required that a woman or other minority representative be the next candidate. 

With only a few days left in the campaign, would it be too much to expect both parties to focus on what they can do for the people of this province rather than throwing darts at each other? Recent polls show the NDP has the backing of about half of decided voters, the Liberals have around one-third support and the Greens just over 10 per cent. 

Going out on a limb, it looks very much like an NDP majority – somewhere around NDP 54, Liberal 31, Green 2 with a little wiggle room between the two leading parties. And when the dust settles – we’ve been told that could be more than two weeks until we know the final result – we are likely to have the same three MLAs in the mid-Island.

Also, see Vaughn Palmer's comments.

We welcome your comments –

Oct. 16, 2020

Many communities are getting free bus service on election day, but not in Nanaimo. Some days you wonder whether the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. 

Transit bus and handyDART services are offered in Victoria, Comox Valley, Port Alberni and the Cowichan Valley on election day. Free rides are also available in numerous other regional districts throughout the province. 

I asked Nanaimo Regional District’s transit department and could not get an answer other than “we didn’t have any direction on this.”  

RDN chairman Ian Thorpe said he was in the dark, it was the first he had heard of it, and it was too late now because the next board meeting to approve the free buses is not until after the election. 

I called BC Transit media office on Thursday and got an answer late Friday saying decisions about free fare days are made by local governments – they set fares and keep revenue from the fare box to help offset their costs of running the transit system.  

“Recognizing there are BC Transit partners that have decided to provide free service on election day (including the Comox Valley Transit System and Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System), there are also a number of systems that are not providing free service on election day, including the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System and Campbell River Transit System,” the email states. 

We still don’t know why. Col. Klink and Sgt. Schulz of Hogan's Heroes come to mind.

Sep. 11, 2020

The first U.S. presidential debate was about as low as political discourse could – rude, lying, hate, name-calling and a whole lot more. Politics has sunken to its lowest level we can remember.

Ben Domenech, wrote in The Transom: “America Got What It Wanted and It Was Terrible:

“For all the people who are upset about last night’s horrible debate, they should pause and ask themselves: wasn’t that just an accurate reflection of where we are as a nation? Two septuagenarians bashing each other with bursts of bombastic bullshittery and competing whatabouts is the content you will find on Facebook and cable news every single day. To the extent people are disappointed, remind yourself: these men both have nearly 90 percent ratings with the two largest political parties in America. They both bested huge fields of candidates to get their respective roles. This is the show you asked for, and you got it.”

It’s easy for us to sit here north of the 49th parallel and virtue signal to those uncivil Americans. Are we really that far behind?

For the past three years almost every word out of BC Liberal party has focussed on Premier John Horgan, targeting him as a villain. Horgan this, Horgan that, and Horgan everything else. What has stood out over that period of time is how little the Liberals told us what they would do for the province if they were returned to power. No, it was always nasty, bad, evil John Horgan.

We didn’t see the vilification of Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson by the NDP, and then the election was called. It was like night and day, they had kept their powder dry and now it was time to blast both barrels. NDP television advertising telling us all about the Liberals, focussing on nasty, bad, evil Andrew Wilkinson.

In any other field of discussion, this would border on hate speech. Let’s hope we don’t get the same feeling from our leaders’ coming debate that the Americans got out of theirs. We are better than that, aren't we?