Printed in the Powell River Peak, September 9th, 2015


Three bears: Papa, Mama and Baby, were all of voting age. They all wanted Stephen Harper to be retired, the environment to be restored and the economy to again be vibrant and resilient [“Party games,” August 19].

Still, they had differences.

Papa said, “I’ve read that ‘history is destiny.’ I’ll vote for the non-Conservative party that performed best in the last election.” Papa didn’t know that several Green Party victories (federal, provincial and municipal) had overturned the voting precedents of their preceding elections. Papa voted Liberal.

Mama said, “I’ve heard that pollsters are smarter than Oprah. I’ll vote for the non-Conservative party that ranks best in the polls.” Mama didn’t know that pollsters had dramatically failed to anticipate either the 2013 defeat of BC New Democratic Party or the 2015 victory of the Alberta NDP. Mama voted NDP.

Baby said, “I trust my values, principals and beliefs: ecological wisdom, social justice, sustainability, respect for diversity, participatory democracy and non-violence. As a bear, I also value trustworthiness, integrity and reliability.”

Then Canada (bears included) voted. Harper and his Conservative government were defeated. Both Liberals and the NDP increased their seats in Parliament. Yet, Papa and Mama felt disappointed and disheartened.

As the elder bears saw it, campaign promises and policies of both Liberal and NDP parties seemed watered down even before election day. Neither party displayed a deep understanding of the environment. Neither party convincingly wove solutions connecting the environment with concerns for a green economy. Both parties were notably skimpy in their identification of measurable environmental targets. Loose promises seemed likely to be followed by wavering performance. Mama and Papa suffered from voters’ remorse.

However, Baby had voted for Brenda Sayers, Green Party candidate and was a satisfied voter. The Green Party had won 12 seats, enough to become an official party and a decisive factor in close votes in the House. Greens grew in influence as an advocate of environmental values and as a carrier of unspoken truths about the state of our economy and our society. The world survived. Canada thrived.

Rob Arnstein, Klahanie Drive


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