I’m sure that my readers from New Brunswick are already well aware of this, but September 27, 2010 is election day in the province! It’s time to get out and exercise your democratic right by casting your vote. I’m surprised by the general sense of apathy from my generation (and probably younger generations now) when it comes to voting. A good friend of mine is a political science major, and couldn’t be bothered to vote. “It doesn’t matter who wins. They’ll all screw you.” is his philosophy. I understand the sentiment, but I’m disappointed that he feels that way. And he’s not alone. I won’t pretend to know what the number of non-voters are, but just in speaking to people I know, it can be more than a little disappointing.
I make no secret of the fact that I tend to vote Liberal in both federal and provincial elections. I find that their values are more in line with mine, although that certainly does not make them perfect! Far from it. On the federal side, I consider Michael Ignatieff to be a bit of an arrogant ass, and wildly out of touch with the people. As much as I am no fan of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, I don’t think that the federal Liberal party has any chance of winning an election any time soon with Ignatieff at the helm.
In the case of the provincial Liberal party, Premier Shawn Graham has all but ensured that they will sitting on the sidelines after this election. Of course that is only my opinion, but I will be absolutely shocked if they win a second term under his lackluster leadership. Opponents of Graham immediately point to the debacle surrounding the proposed sale of NB Power to Hydro Quebec, and I do not disagree one bit. The entire thing was mishandled right from the beginning, and New Brunswickers were left holding the bag. Whether you agree with the idea of privatizing NB Power or not, it’s hard to deny that Graham’s poor leadership (and constant flip flopping) cost New Brunswickers dearly.
But for me, I look back even further at this government’s track record. Remember the proposal to turn UNBSJ into a polytechnic school? I don’t hear anyone talking about that anymore, but I certainly remember it. I was completing the final few courses of my Bachelor of Business Administration at the time, and seriously wondering whether or not I was even going to have the opportunity to finish. No one had ever heard of a polytechnic prior to that, and Shawn Graham did a poor job of explaining it. In the end, he reversed the decision, and UNBSJ remains a proper university. But it is this kind of reckless behaviour that bothers me about the current Liberal government. Shawn Graham comes out of nowhere with an idea that does not make sense, does a piss poor job of explaining it to New Brunswickers, and then backtracks completely in the face of public opposition. At the end of the day, we’re no further ahead, but have spent too much time and money on something that should never have been on the agenda to begin with.
Personally, I see my vote as a vote of non-confidence in the current government. Can I, in good judgement, give Shawn Graham my personal stamp of approval for the last 4 years? Do I feel that this party is the right choice to guide our province’s direction for the next 4 years? The answer is no.
Agree? Disagree? What matters most is that you have a voice that deserves to be heard. On September 27, get out and vote for whichever party you feel most deserves it.