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EDITORIAL: Whose side are you on?

Editor Adam Louis says there’s no change without making your voice known

For those of you who don’t like politics, I’m sorry. I know it’s been an onslaught of political information, debates, opinions and mudslinging, but the storm will settle soon enough.

I hope.

The local election has proven to be very on-brand for 2020. With now-Independent Laurie Throness ousted from the Liberal party, his re-election campaign has hit some snags. Some voters in Agassiz-Harrison are angry, having casted their votes for the Liberal party and not Throness himself, now feeling their votes have gone to waste.

The B.C. Greens have ghosted my fellow Fraser Valley colleagues and I, leaving us wondering what Jeff Hammersmark is up to. He informally stood down weeks ago, yet less than a week out, he’s back on the campaign trail after near radio silence. Independent Jason Lum being given the Greens’ endorsement and Hammersmark’s own seal of approval only adds to the confusion. I feel trolled, Green Party. I don’t like feeling trolled.

The Libertarian party has its own, much smaller issues with communication. Meanwhile, I’m virtually drowning in an endless sea of press releases from the NDP and Liberals constantly bickering like so much Facebook commentary, so much so my email software is starting to mark them as junk mail and I’m beginning to think the software is right.

Throw a pandemic into the mix, and here we are.

If you expected the 2020 election to go any different than anything else this dumpster fire of a year has thrown at us, then I hope you’re ready to write a cheque for when I sell you the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge.

Once the kicked-up dust and all the pettiness, the scandals, the information overload settles, it all comes down to Saturday. I don’t blame you for that queasy feeling along the lining of your stomach from being force-fed a constant stream of partisan arguments for weeks on end. I get it. I spent six hours the other day dissecting every last piece of the riding’s all-candidates debate and converting it into a 2,300 word article. Pass the Tums.

However, don’t let that nausea get in the way of what needs to be done. There are nearly 3.5 million registered voters in the province, 43,698 of which are in the Chilliwack-Kent riding. More than 43,000 of yourselves, your friends, your neighbours have the opportunity to have their voices heard.

I would strongly encourage you to be in that number. If you’re eligible, cast your vote. Even if you don’t feel like it, even if you don’t like all or any of the candidates, even if you think your party cannot win, make your voice known.

As lovely as living here is, Canadian society isn’t without its faults; that’s no secret. But we haven’t come as far as we have as a democracy by denying ourselves our right to have a say in the future of our towns and even our country. It’s together, using our individual voices, that we can change or stay the course as we see fit.

Individually, it can be tough to see what difference it makes, but it’s hard to deny that your small action is part of something much bigger than any one person’s power. Imagine the raw force for change and good we could harness if all the nearly 3.5 million voters throughout the province cast their ballots this year.

I’m never been in the practice of endorsing a particular candidate and I won’t start now.

Who will it be? Will Throness roll with the punches and win? Will veteran local politician and rival Independent Lum take the seat? Will Hammersmark’s no-campaign approach somehow net him a win? With the current NDP status quo, will Kelli Paddon be able to capitalize? Will newcomer Gagne find his way to Victoria?

It’s up to you. Make the call.

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