Removing the Risk Takers Makes Politics Boring

05/29/2013 11:32 EDT | Updated 07/29/2013 05:12 EDT
B.C. Gov Flickr/CP

I believe there are lots of people feeling uninspired, perhaps even depressed in the aftermath of the B.C. election on May 14. As voters we had two poor choices and in the end, when push came to shove, people voted for the leader and party they felt would do the least damage. I doubt that many of the less than 25% of eligible voters that cast a ballot for the BC Liberals did so because they were sincerely inspired by our premier's campaign and message. Hell, we were hard pressed to find the Liberal brand and Christy Clark's name on some of the campaign material for front runners in the party. Anybody who went to Mike de Jong's website, who didn't know him already, would have had to play a guessing game to figure out what party he belonged to. In the end we took the devil that we knew.

It's unfortunate we're in the state we're in right now. Believe me, I'd be happy if the BC Liberals surprised us and turned into a fiscally responsible, inclusive, free enterprise, believable, and free from the politics of fear party. However if history is anything to go by, the odds are against this happening.

People complained about the quality of the candidates we had. Indeed, I heard CKNW's Bill Good and Vaughn Palmer during the campaign discussing various excuses for not voting and one highlighted was "nobody's good" enough. Palmer's antidote, which I liked, was if you don't like the choice then run yourself. That's a good one, but I think the real problem is that we don't have enough good choices because there are just not enough in the talent pool to start with.

Think about it, everything in life is a numbers game. You don't marry the first person you date. In sales you're taught that for every sale you make, you've got to work through a number of prospects. The more prospects to begin with, the greater probability of more sales; and if you begin with less, you can expect less.

The fact is, there's not a huge pool of talent to pull political leaders from in B.C. Somebody may change my mind on this but today I don't believe a leader of a party should be someone who's never been elected to public office, so we need to up the game a bit in terms of participation. How are we going to do that if we cut people's heads off, either before they start or after they're underway for some of the most benign stuff imaginable? I still cannot believe that some otherwise seemingly intelligent people gave my twitter comments a second thought, let alone took the time to comment on them; even more surprising was that they had any impact on my standing within the BC Conservatives.

I've had conversations with some in the media and I've yet to see someone quote me, so I'll say it here; we are insular and provincial in B.C. And unless we ignore the Alex Tsakumises of the world when they piously bleat about the Premier being unfit for office because she showed some goodwill and good nature by sharing a joke about MILFs with a radio host (who was fired for it btw), or ignore the media prattling on for weeks because of a dancing penis prank on a gay MLA (I've yet to meet gays who don't enjoy dick jokes) we are going to reap what we sow -- which is small numbers of people running for public office and even less numbers qualified to run for premier.

I've got two thoughts (besides fascination) when I read about Rob and Doug Ford: one is that it's a shame that Ford's work as a fiscal conservative is being overshadowed by the controversy surrounding him and the other is that I really don't care if Doug Ford sold pot or hash when he was just out of high school nearly 30 years ago (other allegations are more serious IMO, like some of the hypocrisy and denials). I grew up on the North Shore in the 70s and political disqualification for past use of controlled substances would eliminate virtually everybody from there at that time.

Is that what we want? Do we really want holier than thou'ers running for office in any event? What good after all is somebody who's had no life experience or taken no risk? Wouldn't you think somebody was a little weird if they'd never touched any illicit substance (including alcohol) before or just after they graduated?

Why is humour a no-fly zone in politics? Personally I see humour as a great bridge in forming relationships, keeping perspective and most importantly enjoying life; because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. I give the premier credit for maintaining her sense of humour, or at the least the impression that she maintained it, in a hostile environment.

No wonder we've got better than 52 per cent choosing to ignore the ballot box at election time. I suspect a good number of those people are saying to us that they don't see people they can relate to running for office. Personally, I want somebody with opinions who's not afraid to share them -- and even be wrong about them. It doesn't mean they need to be irresponsible about sharing them, however in the event they are, it should be okay for them to have taken the risk and deal with the consequences. Let the voters decide, uninfluenced by media editorials being masqueraded as news, whether what they did or said was acceptable or not.

NDP for firing Ray Lam in Vancouver-False Creek in 2009:

FAIL (although he went away quietly which means he might not have been such a great candidate after all)

BC Libs for forcing John van Dongen to resign as SG in 2009:

FAIL (law's an ass, he knew it, given time he likely would have addressed it)

NDP for firing Dayleen Van Ryswick in Kelowna - Mission 2013:


BCCP for accepting Jeff Sprague's resignation in N Vancouver - Lonsdale 2013:

PASS (too bad, good guy but alleged DUI is a problem)

BCCP for firing Ian Tootill in Vancouver - False Creek 2013:


BCCP for firing Mischa Popoff in Boundary - Similkameen 2013:


BCCP for firing Ron Herbert in Vancouver - West End 2013:

FAIL ( should've let voters decide on taste)

NDP for keeping Jane Shin in Burnaby - Lougheed 2013:

PASS (although time may prove me wrong on this one.)

People who are risk takers (somewhat) and who have strong opinions coupled with a high degree of integrity are exactly the people we shouldn't be discouraging, rather we need to encourage to them run for public office. I say bring them on -- and lots of them. The more the merrier.