Agree or disagree with Bill McQuarrie’s North Island Rising column? Write a letter to the editor at and we will publish it online and in print.

Agree or disagree with Bill McQuarrie’s North Island Rising column? Write a letter to the editor at and we will publish it online and in print.

North Island Rising: Maybe it’s the voters, not the politicians, who are crazy

“It’s about voting people out – not in - and replacing them”

Are you one of the crazy ones?

With the election just weeks away, are you expecting outcomes to be different from those experienced in previous federal elections? It’s a serious question but let me ask the all important companion question: Are you voting the same as you have in every other federal election?

If you answered yes to both, is it possible that you and not politicians, are the problem? After all, we know the definition of insanity includes the implicit understanding that should you continue doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result, you are – and I say this as gently as possible – but you are crazy.

Unfortunately, election after election, this seems to be exactly what we do. We swap political brand names by continuing the practice of going back and forth between the two major parties. It’s about voting people out – not in – and replacing them with the very same people you grew to dislike and voted out in the previous election. And yes, it is crazy but what’s even crazier is how we continue to complain about the outcomes and about those we elect.

This is how it has worked since Confederation and given the electorate’s penchant for performing the necessary but batty role of the repetitively insane voter, is how it will work for decades to come.

The only downside for either Conservative or Liberal parties is spending some quiet time on the opposition benches. However, given your predictability as a voter, they know it is only a matter of time before the process is reversed and they move back across the floor to the governing side of the sandbox.

I can hear the distant voices of the NDP and Green parties claiming there are alternatives to this insanity. For the most part though, we ignore their idealism and fresh ideas because…well because we’ve been trained and/or frightened into ignoring them.

Suppose, for just a moment though, that half the electorate decided the insanity of repeating the same mistake was no longer acceptable and changed their voting pattern.

Since we like labels, I’ll call this band of determined and feisty rebels the Fifty Percenters and if they voted for either The Greens or NDP (your choice), we’d likely end up with a new minority government. And being a minority, this government of idealists would be moderated or tempered somewhat by the realities of needing to build consensus on important issues.

Minorities can work, and you need look no further than the early Harper government. During those early days, when he was forced to play nice and work cooperatively with all sides of the House, we didn’t get what eventually became his trademark draconian omnibus bills.

And to be quite frank, I no longer think we need that kind of centralized power anymore. Instead, I think Canada desperately needs to see some idealists have a go at reacquainting us with certain values we may have once traded for quick fixes and short-term gains.

Bill McQuarrie is a former publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at

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