Don’t be left out of debate

J.R. Rardon uses this week's editorial to urge voters to come to the ballot box.

A good political dust-up can bring out the passions of many people.

Too bad it can’t bring out more people.

Three of the four provincial candidates for MLA for Vancouver Island North visited last week for all-candidates meetings in both Port Hardy and Port McNeill.

Such face-to-face meetings offer a rare chance for prospective voters to learn more about where the candidates and their parties stand on issues that affect the day-to-day lives of North Islanders.

Yet, one senses the Conservative’s Bob Bray, the Liberals’ Nick Facey and the NDP’s Claire Trevena were preaching to the choir in last week’s local meetings. The few dozen participants seemed, for the most part, to have already made their choice for the looming May 14 election, and attended largely to show their support.

To be sure, there were passionate voices in both Port McNeill’s Gate House Community Theatre and in Port Hardy’s Civic Centre.

They asked tough and pointed questions in an effort to pin down the candidates’ views on ferries, forests, health care and more.

Bray focused much of his attention on the low voter turnout here in recent provincial elections, and we think he has a point. Perhaps those sitting on the sidelines believe government — regardless of party — simply won’t respond to their needs.

If you don’t vote, that will certainly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Visit your polling place May 14. You may just help make a difference.