FROM THE SIDELINES: Political view from a non-believer

Penticton Western News sports reporter gives his honest opinion on politics.

Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor for the Penticton Western News.

Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor for the Penticton Western News.

Election time is something I never look forward to.

I force myself to be informed about a candidates plan on what they want to do and what they believe is important to voters to get that coveted vote.

With all the BS that surrounds politics, I fail to understand why people get so entrenched in it. However, I don’t need a Politics for Dummies book to know it is because these politicians we elect are tasked with the responsibility of leading for us at any level. I, like so many other Canadians, have come to question the gap between the rhetoric of politicians and their actions. They talk a good game about making a difference for the common good, but many of their actions have made me question such claims.

Maybe it is different at the municipal level compared to provincially and federally. Though the microscope for criticism is the same. Several promises that go unkept result in a lack of trust. Or poor decisions prove costly causing that trust to be lost.

I force myself to read what candidates say because I want to make sure I’m making the right choice when it comes time to stepping into that election booth. I made a mistake once before and had to be reminded of it for some time. It’s not like you can fire a politician.

I give credit to the people in Penticton who are stepping up with the desire to be in the roles they seek wanting to make a difference. It’s vital though that they know what they are taking on and how to do it. If not, they will face the same criticism their predecessors have.

As of Thursday, Penticton has John Vassilaki and Andrew Jakubeit running for mayor.

Each will bring his own assets to the table. Vassilaki has years of experience while Jakubeit brings fresh ideas. Bringing the Canucks Young Stars Classic has given Penticton extra economic cash it normally wouldn’t have in September.

While I dislike election time, I know it’s important. As people say it’s our democratic right. Our voice. And sometimes this voice takes the form of silence. Reactions to this choice is not always positive.

If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain,“ this argument reads. Have you heard that before? Sorry, I don’t buy that.

The fact that election turnout is low should worry politicians, indeed, all of us. It suggests the political class has lost credibility, credibility it has to re-earn. Yes, mistakes in government will happen. Over the years, we have seen our fair share of fallibility. But let us not kid ourselves. If it is unrealistic to expect perfections from our politicians, it is equally negligible to tolerate mediocrity. Since our politicians are our representatives, it is necessary for them to prove to us that they deserve our support. This aspect becomes even more urgent when we consider the lack of accountability that we can exercise between elections. Our representatives democracy is for better or worse an elected high class and those who wish to be our kings and queens for the next term should be chosen carefully.

I don’t take my freedom to vote for granted, but I won’t vote for a specific candidate just because their name is on the election ballot. Yes, there tends to be more than one option when it comes to choosing your next mayor or party leader. What do you do if after you have heard everything that each of the candidates have said and you don’t feel they will be the right person to lead Penticton’s future?

Voting for someone you don’t feel has the skills to make the right choices is more damaging. There is no rule stating you have to fill out the full number of boxes in each category. Ultimately, it is your choice — or not.

Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor at the Western News.


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