OUR VIEW: Votes matter on the Saanich Peninsula

Less than two months from now, B.C. residents will go to the polls to vote in the May 9 provincial election.

Less than two months from now, B.C. residents will go to the polls to vote in the May 9 provincial election.

While that may cause some people to roll their eyes or cringe, others may rejoice in the opportunity to exercise their role in our electoral system and pick the individual who will represent them in the legislature in Victoria.

So, we encourage as many of our readers to register to vote — and to make sure that they are on the voters’ list. And once you have registered, don’t forget to take time on May 9 and vote. Leading up to that vote, however, there’s work to be done.

A vote should only be the culmination of a little bit of effort in getting to know who the candidates are in your electoral area, which parties they represent, what they and those parties stand for, and how they plan on leading the province, should they be elected.

Once the writ is dropped and the election campaigning begins, it will be easy to fall into old patterns of criticizing the sitting government or trying to score political points off personality conflicts or quick and meaningless sound bites and social media rantings. There’s been enough of that south of the border.

While those kinds of quick-hitting-but-longevity-lacking comments can spark interest (or outrage), it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know everything there is to know about a campaign, a candidate or an important issue, based on that kind of scant detail.

We urge you to find out more. To challenge your notion of what is fact and what is fiction. Most of us already know what the realities of our own lives are and how government policies can affect them, but how many of us go beyond our own little worlds and check those political promises against possible outcomes for our neighbours?

It isn’t easy. But democracy, such as it is today, isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be interactive. And while there are many entry points into the process of elections and politics, it’s what we do with that access that really matters.

The race in Saanich North and the Islands could be one of those that will be interesting to watch. Last time, the top two candidates were separated by only a couple hundred votes and could have gone any one of three ways. The same three people are in the race here again, so we’re bound to see a very close election again.

In this case, here on the Saanich Peninsula, your vote does matter.

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