OPINION: Time to demand more from political candidates

Former Chilliwack mayor asks those running in B.C. election to campaign positively

By Clint Hames

Special to The Progress

As the political season heats up and the Provincial election looms, I ask for a favour. I have no hope it will be granted and confess that I am not naive enough to think that my single vote matters to any of the candidates.

I also know that the evidence suggests that negative, attack ads work, however, I encourage you to simply tell me what you hope to accomplish if the party you represent forms government.

Please understand that I am aware and intelligent enough to form my own opinions on the performance of the current government. I actually don’t need your opinions on the performance of the MLAs or the fear mongering about what a change might bring. Frankly, I’m appalled by the length many of you will go to discredit each other.

Here’s the thing… If you are prepared to utter hyperbolic, half truths about your competitors, why should we trust what you tell us after you are elected.

I’m always reminded of the Adlai Stevenson quote, “If the Republicans stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them…”

Certainly, this is how each party must view the rhetoric. I know, I know, negative, dirty campaigns get people elected, but, here’s what else they have done. They have, over time, sullied the whole process and cast anyone involved in politics as cheats and liars. Throw enough mud and some will stick. Well, the mudslinging has worked and now most of us struggle to believe anything you say. We have sunk to a level of political discourse in this country that is, frankly, troubling.

Fundamentally, I need to know what you’ll do to my taxes. If you’re going to raise them, I want to know the money will benefit those in the most need. I want you to be honest about what you can achieve. If you’re going to lower, them, I want to know how you’re going to maintain the services we depend on. I need to know what you’re going to do to help people who are homeless. I need to know your plan to make sure kids get the support they need to be successful – not just from kindergarten, but before. I want to know your plan to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society get the help and support they need to succeed. I want to know that there is a plan to make health care sustainable and available.

Take a break from the hateful messages and tell me what you’ll do that will make my community a better place – for everybody.

And before the rest of us nod our heads in agreement, remember that we are also the problem. Political campaigns and “alternate media” rely on us to spread hateful messages, half truths and out and out lies on social media.

Time to demand better of the candidates and of ourselves.

Clint Hames is the former mayor of Chilliwack

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chief grad competes at Hockey Canada camp

Dennis Cholowski is gunning for a spot on Canada’s national World Junior team.

Atchelitz Threshermen’s Association celebrating best year ever

Membership skyrockets along public interest and project planning

GW Graham students stage holiday musical

Aw Snapped! is a holiday musical comedy the whole family can enjoy

GoFundMe started for Chilliwack man seriously injured in recycling truck incident

Thrown from vehicle downtown, Daniel Winston is back in ICU two weeks after it happened

GW Graham Grizzlies wounded by Whundas in Showcase final

The Grizzlies went 3-1 at their home tourney, beating Sa-hali, St. Thomas Aquinas and Britannia.

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Hwy. 1 avalanche improvements promise less delays

B.C.’s new remote avalanche-control systems near Revelstoke are ready for avalanche season

Rare summer tanager delights Vancouver bird watchers

It’s the first time that bird has been recorded in the Metro Vancouver area

2017 word of the year: Feminism

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017: ‘Feminism’

200 Russians to compete in Olympics as neutrals

The Russian Olympic Committee expects 200 to compete in South Korea

5 to start your day

Gordie Hogg takes South Surrey White Rock, Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings and more

Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exist

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

Trudeau appoints Supreme Court chief justice

Prime Minister Trudeau appoints Richard Wagner as Supreme Court chief justice

Liberal Hogg wins South Surrey-White Rock byelection over Conservative Findlay

B.C. riding to be represented by non-conservative for first time in decades

Most Read