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Why not an Independent?

South Okanagan topics including Summerland, Naramata, Penticton, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, and Keremeos.

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Why not an Independent?

Postby Rockitman » Oct 24th, 2012, 3:01 pm

Can someone explain to me why there is so much distain for party politics yet there is almost no discussion about the possibility of an independent candidate running. Is it because there has only been one independent elected in BC in 60 years? Is it because our so called "democratic" system allows for party candidates to spend upwards of $70,000 dollars on their campaigns, as Barisoff did in the last election (primarily funded by corporations who can't even vote) while an independent has to run against them with funds mostly out of their own pocket, leaving them somewhat less than a chance in H... of being able to compete on a level playing field? Is it because although campaigning isn't "supposed" to start until the writ is dropped in April 2013, the BC liberals can spend millions of tax payer dollars with campaign commercials under the guise of the BC JOBS PLAN and an independent can't..?? Is it because Christy Clark can arbitrarily cancel the fall sitting of the legislature so she too can start campaigning, instead of doing what she was elected to do and an independent can't.?

It sounds like a fair and democratic process to me alright! Certainly, by now, most people understand that an MLA elected from within a party does not and in fact "can not" represent his or her riding. They "must" vote party lines on virtually "every" issue or face sanctions. One only need look at the HST as an example. How, in any way, shape or form is that considered to be representation?

So, again my question, why not an independent.??

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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Glacier » Oct 24th, 2012, 3:12 pm

Most people actually vote for the party and not the candidate running. In an NDP/Conservative/Liberal/Pickyourpoison stronghold, it matters very little how incompetent or unscrupulous the Candidate is, he or she is going to win if the party is popular.

The problem with independents is that people need to take time to inform themselves on what the person stands for, and that takes time and effort. Unfortunately the average voting is not willing to invest either before voting. Voting is mostly about what feels good and who has the best sound bites.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Rockitman » Oct 24th, 2012, 3:47 pm

Ain't that the truth..Well said !!
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby fluffy » Oct 24th, 2012, 5:19 pm

There is also a widespread belief that while an independent does have a voice, without the strength of numbers that comes with party affiliation they are ineffectual in the legislature. The only exception to this would be someone who is such a gifted, passionate and convincing speaker that they could sway public opinion enough put appreciable pressure on the parties.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby glassmaster » Oct 24th, 2012, 7:07 pm

Glacier wrote:Most people actually vote for the party and not the candidate running. In an NDP/Conservative/Liberal/Pickyourpoison stronghold, it matters very little how incompetent or unscrupulous the Candidate is, he or she is going to win if the party is popular.

The problem with independents is that people need to take time to inform themselves on what the person stands for, and that takes time and effort. Unfortunately the average voting is not willing to invest either before voting. Voting is mostly about what feels good and who has the best sound bites.



How right you are Glacier. Most people vote for the party rather than the individual. Equally common, they vote to prevent a particular party from getting in. Most people will cast their vote for the individual that represents the party/ideals that they (personally) identify themselves with.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Jamesie » Oct 24th, 2012, 10:28 pm

glassmaster wrote:Most people will cast their vote for the individual that represents the party/ideals that they (personally) identify themselves with.


Don't remember the exact quote from 'First Among Equals' the Jeffrey Archer book set in the British House of Commons. But at some point someone says: a really really good consituency MP may be good for an extra 1000 votes and a really bad controversial MP may lose the party 1000 votes, but overall people vote party and not representative. I think that holds pretty much true in all democracies where political parties have evolved into the powerful machines and voting blocks that they have become. And a 1000 votes either way (and then only in the most extreme cases) do not make a difference in most ridings...
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Rockitman » Oct 25th, 2012, 9:32 am

Sad but true.. I agree with everything that has been said so far. How then do we change that kind of thinking? I mean if you ask 100 people if change is needed most will say “yes”. If you ask them how to change it most will say “I don’t know” or even “I don’t care”. Party politics has become all about the power. Some are fighting to keep it and the others (the opposition by name) are opposing “everything” in an attempt to get it and any actual representation falls through the cracks. Debates are not about the policies themselves but about how it will play out in the media or as Glacier so eloquently put it the “sound bites” and whether or not it will improve their popularity. I believe (obviously) that one way to effect some real change is vote more “independents” into the legislature. They are beholding to neither party so can “actually” stand up for their constituency. I too agree with Fluffy, "people" think they are ineffectual so we, "the people" need to change that thinking.

Currently we have two sitting independents but there needs to be more before things can really start to change. What if… the “balance of power” was some day held by true independents..?? How would that change the dynamics? I recently watched a video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking about the flaws in our banking system (another example of a majority government doing whatever they choose) and at the end she quotes Margaret Mead “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Jamesie » Oct 25th, 2012, 10:56 am

Unfortunately the tendency is for all systems, however well intended and designed, over time to erode into a situation where powerful cliques run the show and where raw power trumps ideology. Human nature and group dynamics take care of that. You can see that many Western democracies, that started with the best of intentions and quite successfully between 100 and 200 years ago, have evolved into oligopolies of strong machines and corporate or institutional backers. It will likely take decades of hard work by groups similar to Occupy to unravel and undo this situation, which will be fought tooth and nail by the powers that be. And in the process we must be very careful not to end up with something that is worse and even more undemocratic than we have now.

My hunch and my hope is that modern technology will be an enabler for a more direct and definitely more open type of democracy. But direct democracy (i.e. a system whereby the people are directly involved in decisionmaking rather than through representatives, maybe through internet-based votes and referenda etc.) has its pitfalls as well.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Rockitman » Oct 25th, 2012, 11:32 am

I totally agree. But don't you think adding some more independents would be a good start? We all know that party MLA's represent only the "party" and not their constituents. That being the case and if we are going to continue to accept this without a fight, why even have them. We have 80+ ridings in BC at over $100,000 each. That's 8 mil that could be spent elsewhere if all they do is spend 47 days a year sitting in the legislature and voting party lines. Why not just elect a First Minister and a dozen or so ministers for some of the portfolios and be done with it. I know I'm an ideologist but we have to start somewhere, don't we ??
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Rockitman » Oct 27th, 2012, 9:03 am

Working Independently Posted on October 26, 2012 by RSMLA Administrator (Bob Simpson MLA)
After almost two years as an Independent MLA I still get asked if Independents can make their voices heard and if the constituency is well served by someone who is not a part of the political party system.
It’s a fair question.

Even though most people believe political parties undermine our representative democracy by exercising too much control over their elected members and limiting the ability of MLAs to truly represent their constituents, many people still feel they need to vote for a member of a political party in order to get things done in their riding.

As an Independent outside the petty partisanship that has infused BC’s politics, what I find is different about my conversations with our region’s senior bureaucracy (and with ministers, for that matter) is that they are more open, honest and productive. In part, this is because the civil servants and ministers know that my only agenda is to serve my constituents; I’m not trying to “play” them for the benefit of a particular political brand. Consequently, I find I can better serve the people of my constituency than my colleagues who are restricted by the party system.

MY Point exactly.. Thanks BOB..!!
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby krocky » Oct 28th, 2012, 5:07 pm

I couldn't agree more.. It is about time more people stepped up to run as independents. Party politics is a bunch of nonsense with all the bickering and fighting and yelling like a bunch of school children. No, let me take that back, that kind of behaviour wouldn't be allowed in the schools. Our politicians need to work together to accomplish what is best for the province, but then who has time for that when the circus is in town.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby hoot » Oct 28th, 2012, 5:37 pm

It is about time more people stepped up to run as independents. Party politics is a bunch of nonsense with all the bickering and fighting and yelling like a bunch of school children


And yet political parties are nothing more than a bunch of independents with similar political views .

Independent politicians are nothing more than party politics reduced to a singularity.

For example:
Put two independents with similar political views in the same legislature and you have a de facto political party, they vote similarly on like topics and support each other in debates.

They may not have the same constraints as a recognized organized party but nevertheless they are, no matter how unwittingly, a "mini me" of the big parties.
When several independents get together with like political agendas, heck they may as well give themselves a name and run as a uniform whole in the next election . Just like a “real” political party

Purists will tell you that a true independent would never sell themselves out to party politics, but in most cases they have no choice, especially if they want to be effective representatives of their constituents.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby Rockitman » Oct 28th, 2012, 7:38 pm

hoot wrote:And yet political parties are nothing more than a bunch of independents with similar political views .


Well that was supposed to be the case. They should be "independents" with similar political views working for the better good while still representing their constituents. However, our society has let things evolve to the point that party affiliated MLA's are nothing more than high paid sheep sitting around the legislature (for 40 some days a year) waiting to be "told" where, when and how to vote.

Put two independents with similar political views in the same legislature and you have a de facto political party, they vote similarly on like topics and support each other in debates.


Is this not what is "supposed" to happen if the topic has merit and would be good for their respective constituencies. Would you rather they fight and oppose each other just for the sake of it or to get media exposure, as the current parties do?

FYI the current BC First party is trying to form what they are calling a "coalition of independents" working together with similar interests. In this case I do have to agree with you that they are a still a party and I'm sure they too will be told what to do, say and how to vote, at some point, if they succeed to remain a party, for any length of time.

Purists are correct when they say a true independent would never sell themselves out to party politics nor would they join such a coalition. But that does not mean that they would not or should not support other independents or even the other political parties whether it be the "ruling" party or the opposition if the topic is "worth" supporting. As I said before, that IS what is supposed to happen.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby krocky » Oct 30th, 2012, 9:56 am

I hear tell that one of the disgruntled losing candidates from the Liberal nomination vote has indicated they might run as an independent. If that were the case then I would not vote independent as I would seriously have to question their motivation.
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Re: Why not an Independent?

Postby twobits » Oct 30th, 2012, 10:14 am

krocky wrote:I hear tell that one of the disgruntled losing candidates from the Liberal nomination vote has indicated they might run as an independent. If that were the case then I would not vote independent as I would seriously have to question their motivation.


And the only reason for that would be to ensure the winning candidate lost to the ndp. Would MZ be that petty? You don't say who but I can't see Janice or Connie pulling such a stunt.
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