Don’t forget to vote. The election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Don’t forget to vote. The election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Don’t forget to vote

Research candidates and cast a ballot Oct. 24

It’s almost time to vote.

And with just one-and-a-half weeks left before BC’s General Election, things should start getting interesting. Not that we haven’t already been thrown a few curves – snap elections in the middle of a pandemic are hardly the norm. In the Cariboo-Chilcotin, we have the added intrigue of a fresh slate of candidates vying to take the torch from long-time Liberal MLA Donna Barnett to add to the mix.

This week is going to be crucial. Not only was there a short window in which parties could put forward candidates but we have less time than usual to figure out who best is going to serve our riding, our province and our people for the next four years. B.C.’s three main party leaders went head to head in the only televised debate on the 2020 election issues Tuesday, while local debates are few and far between.

READ MORE: Dr. Bonnie Henry wasn’t asked about early B.C. election

Coupled with that, people are already tired of politics, worn out with COVID-fatigue or struggling to survive in the pandemic-plagued world.

But we can’t let that stop us from getting to the polls. This election could be a game-changer in a lot of ways. Horgan’s NDP is hoping the premier’s popularity during the pandemic will be enough to keep them in power. The Greens hope to boost their profile after proving the last election that their votes do count. And the Liberals are seeking to reinstate themselves in the House. Add a number of independents and, here in this riding, the first Libertarian candidate, and voters have their work cut out for them.

We know the next four years are going to be different, and potentially a struggle for a lot of us, especially if COVID truly is here to stay. We need to ensure we have the right people in power who can handle those challenges. Get people back to work. Provide for our seniors. Help our economy adapt so we can get back on track.

The decisions made by the next government could have lasting implications – beyond the next four years. So far, it seems people are taking up the challenge. As of Tuesday, 680,000 voters requested vote-by-mail packages, compared with 6,517 in the 2017 election. An estimated 138,500 vote-by-mail packages have already been returned to Elections BC, representing about 21 percent of the packages issued to date.

Let’s join them. In the next week, research your local candidates and the major parties to decide which candidate would best represent your riding and which party’s platform best aligns with your individual values. And, when you figure it out, get out and vote.

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