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Posted: May 9, 2017

Voting takes out the grease

Kootenay Crust

By Ian Cobb

e-KNOW Op-Ed Commentary

Are you sitting there wiling away some time at the end of your work day; perusing things online – surfin’?

Have you voted in the provincial election?

If not, I am afraid I must insist that you drop what you are doing and head to your nearest voting station and exercise that greatest of rights our hard-fought freedoms allows for and vote.

I hear you if you’re responding: ‘why should I care and why should I vote? What difference does it make? It doesn’t matter who wins, the same crap ends up floating in the toilet.’

It is such wide public opinion that keeps people away from voting stations; that and slimy, transparent games played by all the main players.

This election has been somewhat special, in the East Kootenay’s two ridings, in terms of nasty politics.

The ‘handlers’ of both the BC NDP and BC Liberal Party campaign have trotted out grease-pit politics worthy of a rat like Donald Trump or an Illuminati pawn like Hilary Clinton.

The BC NDP brain trust (stifle your laughter you) first registered ‘high’ on my BS meter when they trotted out an April 28 press release proclaiming the BC Liberals are poised to strip the Columbia Basin Trust of benefits. I feared Bill Bennett’s head might explode when I asked him about this claim, which was essentially baseless. But trot out the fear! Trot out the doubt created by – NOTHING substantial. Because it worked for Trump; it can work for the NDP!

Then, in a messy way reminiscent of Trump in that it felt like it was done at the last second following a scolding by dadsy, they attacked Kootenay East Liberal candidate Tom Shypitka on his business and financial record.

I found it amusing that the email address of a sender of said press release staining Shypitka came from – and I am not making this up – this is not fake news Trumpy – Kootenay John Doe.

I asked about it and soon after the same release arrived, wrapped in formal NDP orange.

I know Shypitka’s NDP challenger Randal Macnair and I didn’t believe such an attack would come from him. It seemed to be an attack initiated by some rascal hired by the party to smear/attack candidates.

However, Macnair said he stood behind the release because it speaks some truths about the Liberal candidate that voters should know.

In response, the BC Liberals rifled out a press release proclaiming Macnair to be a filthy communist who is one of eight NDP candidates to back the Leap Manifesto. Macnair shrugged it off with a denial and claim that the Leap Manifesto is a dumb idea.

Shypitka has chosen to step away from that attack on Macnair, to his credit.

Because attacks are not necessary. Not in this part of the world.

If the Americans need to act like petulant, contemptible children – let them. It’s their country; they can act like sociopathic breastfeeders all day long if they must.

Kicking shit at one another is not Canadian; it’s an art perfected by assholes. Is that us? Okay, it is on the ice but not off of it.

We used to be able to agree to disagree and get on with pounding the case of beer. We used to be much closer together as a people. Vile attack politics was left to larger arenas and greasier cities, with larger and greasier corporations/political parties behind the wheel.

Apparently not any longer.

This is the seventh provincial election I have covered in this region, dating back to 1991. I have heard, in whispers with wry winks, XY and Z about a variety of candidates in that time, but discourse was usually relatively civil – in both the Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke.

To the credit of the candidates in the Columbia River-Revelstoke, there has been an even-keeled and collegial feel to the campaign. Even Gerry Taft (NDP) and Doug Clovechok (Liberals) have mostly resisted the urge to go for each other’s jugular.

Macnair and Shypitka have also been civil in public, to their credit.

I blame the grease that has been splattered on their parties and on the cheeky bastages they hired to run their campaigns. Again, children, this isn’t bloody America. We are Canadians and we are a civil people. Greasy tactics reminiscent of Trump and his army of trolls are not welcome here.

To close, I want to offer my best wishes to all the candidates in both ridings.

I was able to get to know four of the six candidates in Columbia River-Revelstoke. I didn’t get to meet or hear independent Duncan MacLeod and Libertarian Rylan Kashuba but I have heard positive things about them.

Taft is a polished, professional politician; the local kid grown up and ready to move out and on. It was a rough start to his candidacy and a hard run up to the election with time spent in court; not ideal conditions for any election.

Clovechok is, as Christy Clark has said, “the hardest working non-elected MLA in B.C.” He is taking a third shot at the MLA seat and has worked harder than ever in this campaign.

Independent Justin Hooles is a smart young man who has acquitted himself well, as did young Samson Boyer – the Green Party candidate. Hold your heads high gentlemen. You did yourselves and your parties and families proud!

Good luck to you all and please vote with your minds AND your hearts May 9.

Ditto Kootenay East.

I was extremely impressed with Libertarian Keith Komar and Green Party candidate Yvonne Prest; both are well-informed, idea-laden, passionate people. There was a time when fringe party and independent candidates came across as … whack jobs… but not any longer, which is a refreshing and positive aspect of this election.

And despite the stains, which I am quite confident came from afar (to the west), Tom Shypitka and Randal Macnair have been quality candidates for their parties.

It is not easy doing what these 10 people have done; many sacrifices are made; much sleep is lost. For that you have my respect.

You have enormous shoes to fill in Bill Bennett’s and Norm Macdonald’s and the East Kootenay still needs powerful voices in Victoria.

So go get ‘em to the winners; thanks for trying to the runners up and please, please, please – get out and vote folks.

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