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Ginta — If you believe in making good things happen, you need to vote

Daniela Ginta writes her column for the Armchair Mayor News on Fridays.

COLUMN —  It is a time of turmoil, social and political. A few days ago, thousands were present for Cpl. Cirillo’s funeral in Hamilton. Next is Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent’s funeral, who will be laid to rest on Saturday in what the family requested to be a private, no-press-allowed, ceremony. Lest we forget.

Gintahed1As the dust settles and other news will boil over, one can hope that the troubling questions left behind by the sudden and violent deaths of the two soldiers will be answered sooner than later. Much has been said about the charismatic smile of Cpl. Cirillo and his good nature, less so about why he was shot by someone who managed to run amok in an area that has at least one surveillance camera.

Presumably, someone was watching that screen at all times, in which case, how could a man with a long gun be overlooked. And if he wasn’t, where were the security forces that were supposed to come out in a blink and contain the situation before anyone got killed?

Answers are not easy to come by, and accountability is an elusive creature we want to see materialized among politicians. Then we have the lingering, growing as we speak, energy-related issues that transform people into rabid partisans of the pro and cons arguments.

We see it all over the country, and we see it in our own city. Ideally, our elected officials should be able to sort it out in a way that will be good for all and there will be someone who will answer the tough questions or pay the actual price of damage should any damage occur after all precautions have been taken. Or oppose a project unless it is done right, which is the latest case of the David and Goliath type of confrontation between Kinder Morgan and the city of Burnaby, mayor and people standing together. Accountability is what helps with that.

We can toil over these issues and more all we want; truth is, there is no easy solution. Problems arise daily, some bigger than others, and it is often that people feel helpless about them. Expectedly so, when questions fall on deaf ears. Which is why voting becomes the one thing anyone can do to lessen the feeling of helplessness.

Unless we go out and vote whoever we think will do a good job at addressing issues that have to do with the state of our democracy, our environment, education, health, housing problems, and so much more, nothing will be done in a way that feels right.

Someone said to me ‘if I do not vote, at least I cannot say I voted the wrong person when they don’t do their job…’ But is that the point? It is never a matter of whether a politician does it right or wrong by me only. I can voice my concerns, I can express ideas and if I feel in any way betrayed by the ones I chose, I have to take it further than just sanctioning their activity in my head.

I do not vote my personal councilors and mayor, just like you do not either. It is a concerted effort and, as always, my deed (vote in this case) will affect your life and the other way around. A community that can vote is a community where good things can happen.

There is no escaping this one if we want to see changes and issues dealt with in a responsible manner. Freedom of speech and freedom to vote are two important assets in a democracy and they should be exercised by the people who have them. There have been multiple instances of freedom of speech being impended (see the case of Canadian scientists being silenced to the point of scientists from other countries expressing concern over practices that are unbecoming of a democratic government) and there are cases of truth being withheld for various reasons.

There are decisions being made in regards to pipelines, mines and fracking that are questionable to say the least. There are accidents such as tailings pond ruptures, oil spills and chronic health issues in many who live near exploitation sites and no one has to live with the consequences expect for the people who suffered in the first place.

There are provincial parks that may be having their boundaries redefined just so pipelines could run through it. All these matters have to be addressed in a responsible manner. More than that, the government officials who address these issues and more, have to be accountable to voters and open to having dialogues as needed.

In which case, one wonders, where are such perfect politicians hiding?

There are no perfect humans, politicians or otherwise. But in case of politicians, they have to understand their mission and the trust they are given by people like you and me.

More so, they need to be able to stand up right, be accountable and make truth their ally. If we all speak the truth, things are bound to get better.

I guess the best way to describe my expectations for what’s to come is to say that we elect representatives that will keep on growing to become great politicians rather than go for the perfect ones from the start, because truth is, no one is perfect and everyone should be given chances to grow and do better every day. What I do ask, though, is openness and a social conscience.

For that, I will go vote and I urge you to do the same. It is a privilege to have choices.

Daniela Ginta is a mother, scientist, writer and blogger. She can be reached at daniela.ginta@gmail.com, or through her blog at http://www.thinkofclouds.com.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6683 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on Ginta — If you believe in making good things happen, you need to vote

  1. Sean McGuinness // November 1, 2014 at 1:09 PM // Reply

    Voting is good, unless of course you don’t get what you thought you were voting for.
    If voting cycles were two years instead of four (as in the U.S. congress), then voters might have more power. However, as it stands, four years is plenty of time for a govt to make a lot of bad decisions and do a lot of damage. Plenty of pipelines can be built and lots of mines can be dug in that space of time. It’s easy to become rather cynical about democracy in today’s divisive political climate. While you can make good things happen by voting, you can’t always stop bad things.

    We’re faced with the situation in Kamloops where voting in itself is unlikely to stop the Ajax mine. The 90,000 people in this city have essentially no say in the final decision on this matter. The “process” is a giant machine which steers itself and is largely blind to voters. We now have two governments hell-bent on expanding the resource industry. Ironically, more than ever, it feels like we are fighting the people we elected.

    These days, it seems that our democratic institutions only serve half the population. I would suggest if people want to stop things, we should appeal to our charter of rights. Because legal language seems to be the only language current govt will listen to (most of the time)

    • To some extent, I agree. However, it would be very hard for even Harper or Clark to impose Ajax on Kamloops if our city council voted to oppose it, and if our mayor and council were at the front of the protest marches. I don’t think our federal or provincial votes matter re: Ajax, but I think our municipal votes, too. City council diesn’t make the decision, but they are the most powerful lobby and PR group available to the local population.

      • Sean McGuinness // November 3, 2014 at 11:32 AM //

        Kerri,

        I would like to believe you, but I have my doubts at this point. Imagine a city council and a Mayor which is completely opposed to Ajax. If the environmental assessment is positive, do you think the govt will not approve the project simply because the municipality doesn’t like it?

      • Sean McGuinness // November 3, 2014 at 12:10 PM //

        I would also like to add that I feel the only way to stop this project (assuming first nations are not oppossed to Ajax) is either by a massive upheaval against it (which seems unlikely at this point) or a legal challenge in the courts. Thinking that the assessment process will reject this project or defer its decision is, I believe, very naive. Furthermore, anyone who thinks that not having community consent is enough to stop a billion dollar project is being naive.

        A legal challenge may also be wishful thinking, but given the unprecedented nature of this project, one might have a chance, albeit a slim one.

      • IMO, the only main way to stop it would be first nations opposition. After Mt. Polley, the KIB was taking a harder look at Ajax. Not sure when they are set to vote on it though. but if they oppose it, KGHM will have bigger hurdles to jump.

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