Updated: Oct 19, 2022
WHY VOTE AND HOW TO CHOOSE?
I can't remember ever having been taught about voting at school? I was brought up to not trust anyone so the politicians have always been a bit scary and totally untrustworthy to me. I was encouraged to go for a position on the International Skating Union, who clobbered me this February - bless them. But I hated the politics back then...
NO POLITICIAN COULD BE TRUSTED
This was until I read Ken Clarke's book A Kind of Blue. It was an epiphany to learn that some politicians actually wanted the most good for the country, rather than simply for themselves. They were determined to serve and entrenched interests derided them in the media with falsehoods and lies to try to stop them. However, as things started to work better, the public stopped moaning as things improved in terms of economic and practical performance. Not everything worked swimmingly for that Thatcherite legacy but some great improvements were made. It gave Gordon Brown and Tony Blair lots of money to spend, which they duly did.
I do wish KC's abilities could be unleashed on the American Health Service and to the Dental Provision and Education systems of both the US and Canada. My, if he had the power he could change those systems. But it seems no one will.
I read Jeffrey Archer's Heads You Win after Ken's book. His depiction of the hero as male and the enemy as female came to mind this week.
BRITISH PM U-TURNS
Of course when a Prime Minister's aid says she is doing one thing in the morning and then the opposite is done in the afternoon you do start to wonder what you can count on? Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No - the Bible sets a principle. Seems the British Conservative Party is looking to tear itself apart as a result of this not quite being what is happening.
VOTE AS A CITIZEN OF CANADA
I'm a Citizen of Canada as of a couple of weeks ago. I can vote. And the Council and Mayoral elections for Kelowna are tomorrow. Thirty two candidates for eight Councillor places and five for the Mayor's seat.
How do you choose? Well..
WHAT DO I WANT TO SEE?
What's happening for me in this process is that I am having to decide where I stand on issues. Give it time. I think, like Ken Clarke I believe in people working to support themselves and business being empowered with a Social Care provision for all. (I think I need to do the work here). And then - do you dare share what you stand for in today's online attack zone!?
I NEED TO SPEND TIME DO RESEARCH, CARE...
Ken Clarke said that there used to be Associations where people would meet. Social Clubs aligned with the main parties. People would come and meet their MPs. Then TV developed, people got busy and those thriving Associations became stuck with older people and less of them.
As I get into this enquiry I see it's a job of work. One I haven't put enough time into. And it's really interesting.
So I'm working through the list, comparing notes with C, watching lots of videos online. I guess I should have gone and met everyone too, and some open debates. Next time.
What's amazing is that the Democratic process is facilitated and well structured. You can go and meet people. Indeed some seem to welcome that. They don't hide in silos, they want to hear what the priorities are so they can serve the people.
TWO CANDIDATES I'VE SEEN DEVELOP
Two guys I know are running for the first time. It's been fascinating to see them develop and gain information. I've become more aware of the process. Signs on the street, interviews, loads of surveys from different organisations who then advise their Members to back this or that candidate.
So I've got a spreadsheet list and we're noting about different folk from their websites, interviews and from endorsements from friends we've received.
HOW WE VOTE?
I found this interesting for a How To Campaign website. Seeing how the politician is trained to communicate, from a marketing perspective looks at the other side of the coin. How do they get my vote?
The decision-making process of a voter is tied with their perception and desires. It is often not a logical path of judgment, but rather guided by their impression of a candidate. Naturally, your campaign has to use that to create a candidate profile that appeals to voters. LINK
Ahhh ha - so that's how we are encouraged to vote. A TLA three letter acronym works.
Yes We Can, Change Will Come, Government Isn't Working, or a little longer THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER! Thank you New Labour for the last one.
WHAT WORKS FOR ME?
I am finding that hearing specifics that relate to major changes work for me. To say I STAND FOR CHANGE is weak for me. Change from what to what? Here are some thoughts that my research provokes for me - I start to sound like a politician with some statements - perhaps!...
Everybody travels by car here in the Okanagan - or buses. Loads of four by fours here compared to England because fuel WAS so cheap. But some candidates suggest a tram system introduced, which would be awesome in my opinion. Buses have flexibility which is cost effective and useful. But trams - from what I've seen across Europe - can be quiet, fast, on time, carrying loads and loads of people. In Montpelier in France where I adventured earlier this year I saw and used the Metropolitan Tram system - it is brilliant. It carries huge amounts of people in safety and at speed. And there was no driver!
My take: Using existing road routes to add trams on would link up towns here brilliantly. Trams / light railways are out of people's comprehension if they've never seen them work. We are afraid of what we don't know.
There's a drug problem downtown that is spreading wider. The other week we, as a family, were walking down on the beach area and a lady was shooting up faciliated by a guy on some benches looking out over the lake. Not an unusual sight. We just turned round and carried on. Kelowna is a mild climate compared to much of Canada and, if you haven't a home it's a better place to live. Big investments, not a huge amount of homes created, a Council battling with this issue as Rights and Responsibilities and quick overnight lock ups fail to do the job.
One candidate did more than say 'It's a difficult complex situation and they would address it.' (Which many seem to use as a standard response). They said they would move the provision to support the homeless out of the town centre and build a campus. Sounds like it would include a secure area for people with Mental Health problems.
Maybe like England we have closed the Institutions that housed people with severe Mental Illness because of budget issues? So they end up on the street. Nowadays we help them with food and clean needles and then wonder why others turn up?
VANCOUVER We drove through downtown Vancouver a couple of months ago. It is an absolute car crash downtown and looks like some movie armageddon scene streets away from tourist central. It is the worst homeless situation I have seen anywhere on my travels.
My observation is that I don't think you are allowed to speak tough solutions these days as you are not then inclusive and caring if you do? So the majority then suffer at the hands of the aggressive vocal or needy minority.
We need a Ken Clarke - who was probably the most hated man in Britain at times as - he was getting things done based on Principles and impervious to the clamour around him.
Of course then the silent majority get fed up and when an Ultra Right Wing voice appears saying 'lock them up' or 'ship them out' they vote for them. We then get the polarised debate void of real content we see in the media.
All Media loves - FIGHT FIGHT... It gets views and sells copies and keeps the debate as sound bites and SHOUT SHOUT.
I wish more 'would be' Politicians would speak out directly. BUT IT'S SCARY,,, One of the candidates did. A straightforward resident, not a politician. He's been a security guard. He saw the same people coming and doing the same crimes over and over. Why are we facilitating drug addicts and people with Mental Health issues to camp in our cities and be fed and helped to take their drugs? If we did not do this perhaps they would leave? Refreshing. A view that sees the results rather than gets in Consultants to advise on the problem for high fees. (I've been that person employing consultants...). Some can be great, some are great at earning high fees and selling you their next level of consultancy!
Housing is expensive in Kelowna. High rise luxury flats have sprung up that are a great focus for the city skyline in my opinion). If you can work from anywhere in Canada, Kelowna is a great place to consider.
Kelowna natives cannot afford to get on the housing ladder on normal salaries. Like other countries.
Here's my idea for a solution. There is a zoning law that has lots of farmland within what has become the wider City (well it's a biggish town in English speak). Buy some of the strategic farmland, change its zoning and build a huge community of tiny houses such as the word hasn't seen yet.
My solution: Kelowna should buy and repurpose farmland adjacent to the centre of town and allocate it to a world leading 'tiny house' development.
Houses should be first call to qualifying Kelowna residents. The devil is in those details if you're not careful. And I think over 1,000 homes could be created. We love tiny houses and that development could be world leading.
And - I am not sure that this is possible. Maybe the State own that land. So my solution may be implausible. Golly you do need to do the work.
So I'm searching for people who align with values I hold, who tell me more than - I'm for change and who it seems have competence to do the job.
I'm getting into this voting malarkey...
UPDATE AFTER VOTING
Thirty percent of potential voters took part. i was one of those :) I put thirteen votes down. Filling i the ovals for each one. No more crosses here. Then face down into the scanner and it's done. The voting helpers really nice and welcoming.
It's been an eye opener to me to get more involved i this process and have friends trying to be Politicians. Seems that he key to success is... knocking on doors and speaking to people. One of my friends said. People appreciate face to face.
And another friend said "I don't vote." They have destroyed the City.
I'm glad I voted. People died to give me the right to do that, a load of people care passionately and want to give service. And I'll be more into it next time around.
We should all vote, and debate and be involved. We do make a difference. We really do have the power to influence what we want to see.
In my humble opinion.