Thursday, October 4, 2012

A possible Victoria by-election scenario - an all UVic battle

Donald Galloway is the candidate for the Green Party.   I seems almost certain that Paul Summerville will be the candidate for the Liberals.   Finally, Murray Rankin has very good odds of becoming the NDP nominee.   All three of them are UVic professors.  

The idea of a by-election where three of the four major party candidates are white male baby-boomer UVic professors approaching retirement age seems odd.   They sort of seem very much similar on so many levels.   Diversity is not what comes to mind as a choice on the ballot in the election if these are the candidates.  While it is humourous to point this out, this is something that should concern us.

We have to ask ourselves what is going when there are so few women willing to run - I do think Elizabeth Cull has a decent chance to win the NDP nomination.   We also have to ask ourselves why the Greens and Liberals could not find anyone under age of 35 to make a run for the nomination.   Why is no one working class running for any party?

I look at the last names of all of the candidates in the running and Oswald Mosely would have had trouble getting as pure a set of people from British Isles ancestry as what we will have to choose from on election day.  The only name I can even sort of wonder if it is from somewhere other than the British Isles is the name Cull.  You would think after 141 years some party with a serious chance of winning might have attracted a Salish person to run for them.  Is it written somewhere that the majority of our MPs have trace their ancestry back to those dank and dreary islands?

We are in 2012 and our political system still seems to be oriented towards upper middle class people of some sort of British extraction and a long list of degrees.   We have a political class in this country that is not representative of the people.  Our political class is in most cases are in the 1% before they are elected and those that are not join because of the high salary and benefits MPs get paid.   Can we expect good governance when the parliament in Ottawa does not have the diversity of experience of the country?

I have no good ideas on who this can be changed but I do think it is a problem for country when our political class mainly come from a tiny wealthy white elite.


Susan Low said...

When a candidate under the age of 35 and lacking the economic advantages of being white and upper-class DOES try to run, they are inevitably crushed by the "establishment" who expects their MPs or MLAs to reflect decades of life experience, patronage board appointments or community service in organizations like Rotary or Kinsmen.

Even when people who don't fit that profile step forward, they're greeted by doomsayers making proclamations like "you're in an incredibly difficult battle" or "it's going to be almost impossible for you to win." NOT exactly encouraging for people who have to possibly risk their financial security (not everyone has the flexibility of a tenured position) and/or balance family-raising with a political career. As I'm learning, campaigning is a whole new ball game and only the most foolish and/or courageous would willingly take it on. I am not sure which category describes me best.

Pundits make the problem just as much as the parties do. Anyone who doesn't fit the mold is derided as an "underdog" or "long-shot".

Is it any wonder we have finally narrowed our political representatives down to EXACTLY what the media, pundits or party-power-players seem to proclaim is likely to be successful?

Ted Godwin said...

Maybe it is time to acknowledge that the position of "elder" that has guided and governed our species since we first walked upright is built into our DNA. Maybe we can embrace and channel our energies towards making the concept better rather than continuing the infantilisation of our culture spearheaded by attacking anyone over a certain age.

Exceptional younger people have been elected and so they should be. Their youth however does not in any way make them more qualified for the responsibilities of political office.

The real problem is not age or frankly even race but gender bias. The issue is not that they are white and of a certain age, the problem is that we have failed to integrate wise women into our modern political structure.

Bernard said...

It is a good point on the idea of an elder. Though elders have also often been the primary forces in society to stop change. Few people agree with me that if things seem to be going well we need to change things, one of my more iconoclastic views that pisses off people.

I do not think the problem is on the level of the individual but on what happens over 308 individuals being chosen. The face of our parliament does not reflect what this nation looks like. If we go away from the issue of age, we still have the problem that the parliament looks like a very small segment of our society. I have no answer for this but I can see it leads to the governance of the nation not being insync with public will.