BILL MCQUARRIE PHOTO Bill McQuarrie has lived and worked in BC for over 50 years. A former publisher and more recently an entrepreneur in the science and technology field, Bill retired to Port McNeill where youll find him still pursuing his passion as a photo journalist and political opinion writer. You can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at billmcquarrie@gmail.com or maybe even bump into him fly fishing on the many streams in the area.

North Island Rising: Political polarization

This fall there will be a minimum of four candidates wanting your vote here on the North Island.

Manufacturing voter unease and suspicions as a means of getting elected has become the divisive tool of choice for many a politician. And polarizing public opinion has become the favoured weapon for achieving it.

Yet if you look at recent research and polling data, one sees that regardless of our political affiliation, we actually have more in common than some would like us to realize. In fact, with such obvious agreement on the big issues, I began wondering about the beneficiaries of a, ‘them versus us’ mindset.

Surveys, taken over the past year, show that roughly 75 per cent of all voters favour higher taxes for the wealthiest among us. Over 90 per cent want government to negotiate lower drug prices and I suspect similar results when it comes to questions about government intervention on gas prices. And 60 per cent want stronger privacy laws.

This is across the board polling that included voters from all parties and suggests a growing and common concern about economic inequality and the fairness of government and the political system.

More significantly, it brings to question the possibility of political polarization being more myth than reality. When over two thirds of voters agree on basic policy matters, why are politicians ignoring what the majority have said is needed?

People are angry and it appears that many politicians want and encourage the public to focus that anger on each other instead of on them. The public is also encouraged to believe that matters of serious policy, especially economic strategies and programs are beyond our grasp. Too complex, they hint, for the public to grasp let alone participate in.

Off limits to this type of discussion is the influence of industry lobbyists and corporate donors. We can talk about the checks and balances and due diligence of proper legislative processes all we want but until the cheque books of industry, special interest groups and donors are removed from the process, public will, will be ignored. I for one think legislation that has been purchased by friends of government needs to end.

It is indefensible to suggest that two-thirds of the population are wrong when asking for equality in taxation or fairness in pricing. It is inexcusable to suggest we are not smart enough to know what we want. It is unpardonable to blame scapegoats for inaction. And it is unforgivable to play the people against each other in an orchestrated bid to spread distrust, even fear amongst the people you are charged with protecting.

This fall there will be a minimum of four candidates wanting your vote here on the North Island and I think we’re done, maybe even fed up with those broad and patronizing statements about how they are all for the middle class. You need only look to the sport fishery issue to see why broad, mean-nothing statements, are a great way to avoid talking about specifics that are important to us.

In the weeks and months ahead, write, message, comment or even call and let me know what is important to you here on the North Island. I’ll ask candidates for answers to your questions. We’ll cut through the bafflegab, keep notes, remind the eventual winner of their promises and report back on their work.

Bill McQuarrie has lived and worked in BC for over 50 years. A former publisher and more recently an entrepreneur in the science and technology field, Bill retired to Port McNeill where you’ll find him still pursuing his passion as a photo journalist and political opinion writer. You can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at billmcquarrie@gmail.com or maybe even bump into him fly fishing on the many streams in the area.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s 2018-2019 graduating class

The Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre is located on the Tsulquate reserve in the North Island.

Skin deep: A look inside the ink behind Beacon Tattoo

Patrick Berube, owner of Beacon Tattoo, spends most of his Tuesdays at… Continue reading

Second recreational cannabis shop opens its doors in Port Hardy

Pacificanna owner Darren Saunders was excited to finally see his family-run business open up shop.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: A lone crow landing beside an eagle

“I saw an eagle just sitting there, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t be there long as I got closer”

Port McNeill council’s June 17 meeting features ‘packed agenda’

A draft policy on wildfire response for the Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department was presented.

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

Most Read