• Wednesday, February 02nd, 2011

In case you missed it, the call went out last week.

The “call”, in this case, is the nomination process to determine who will represent the Prince George Peace River riding for the Conservative Party.
At the same time that the local nomination was being called, the news was filled with stories about how there might be a federal election called sooner rather than later.
Add to that a search for a new BC Premier, and municipal elections due in September of this year, and you might find yourself getting a little tired of politics. Maybe even a little cynical about the whole process: What’s the point in participating; there never seems to be any change?
And there in lies one of the biggest problems that faces us, the people of Canada: a sense of powerlessness and frustration with the “system”.
This shouldn’t be. The whole point of democracy is rule of the people by the people. That anyone, regardless of their race, creed, sex or taste in music has a say in how we are governed. But somewhere along the line, some people’s desire for power and control, mixed with other people’s general indifference, led to the state where in now, where we have a de facto oligarchy, where we are governed not by the rich and powerful as such, but by a small group of people who care to get involved. To actively take a hand in how they are governed.
I am not, let me be perfectly clear, saying that politicians are power hungry and have stolen away our right to self determination. While this may be the true in some cases, many of the politicians I’ve met do so out of a desire to serve their community. Their county. But somewhere along the line, many of us determined that the only way to have our say was one day every four years when we get to vote.
That’s not the case. Yes, we have a representational government, where one person is chosen to speak for a much larger group (in the case of the Prince George Peace River riding, there are over 104,000 people represented by one Member of Parliament). And it’s tough, in a traditional setup, for people to feel like they have any sort of access to their MP, although this riding has been fortunate in that Jay Hill did a fantastic job of making himself available.
But one of the great things about technology is that it short circuits a lot of traditional ways of doing things. In the old days, you had to make a concerted effort to reach your MP. Now, it’s as simple as an email. Before, it was hard to organize people to make change. Now social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to organize large numbers of people to join their voices together.
So here’s my message to you. While I’m comfortable making speeches, I’m not big on politicing, on standing up and thumping my chest to tell you how great I am and what I plan to do once I get to Ottawa. What I am good at, though, is dialogue… discussion… listening to people. And if I go to Ottawa, I am not going there to speak for me. I am going their to speak for you. But before I can do that, I need to listen to you.
So, while some politicians come to you to tell you why you should elect them, my mission between now and the election is to get out there and listen to you. To hear your voices. To find out YOUR ideas and YOUR points of view. If you are interested in having me come to you, please let me know and I will make every attempt to be there.
As I mentioned, there are over 104,000 people in this riding, so I won’t likely get a chance to talk to you all face to face. But you can email me. You can contact me on Facebook. You can send me a message via this website? I look forward to hearing from you.
“I’m disturbed because the doctors tell me I’m as sound as a dollar.”
- John Diefenbaker April 25, 1975, Ottawa.
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