“alea iacta est!” – the Die is cast

Well, that’s it then. We still  have to wait for Monday night for the official count for General Election 2015, but the experts tell us the die is already cast. A few last minute decisions may be made in the voting booth, but not enough to change mind-sets formed earlier.

I have no last minute advice on whom to vote for or which cause to support, other than suggesting you decide which person and party you think best equipped to run our country and represent us on the world stage, and boldly make your mark. Do not listen to silly people who suggest if you don’t vote for a winner you have wasted your vote. In a society where we freely select our governors from a variety of candidates, there will always be losers – but never lost causes, never wasted votes.

Having discovered long ago the perils of trying to steer readers to my choice of candidate and party, I again resist the temptation. I have told before the story of my disastrous attempt to instruct voters how they should vote, but it bears repeating. It involved a fellow named Charles Oliver, son of former B.C. Premier “Honest” John Oliver, the premier who planted the now magnificent Copper Beech tree at the rear of the Legislature.

Charles, or “Charlie” as he was fondly known, was Reeve of Penticton from 1931-35 and Mayor from 1957-61. He was a little eccentric and not above arbitrarily adjourning council meetings if decisions were not going his way. I think it was in the civic election of 1959 that Penticton Herald publisher Grev Rowland, and the wielder of the not-so-mighty editorial sword, yours truly, decided the city couldn’t stand another two or three years of Charlie.

On voting day we ran a jointly written thundering front page editorial about vaudeville being dead and telling readers it was time to end “this sorry circus of civic administration.” Our reader’s response to the imperious command that Charlie be dumped was dramatic. On the final count that lesson-learning night Charles Oliver had a close to 3 to 1 vote victory over his nearest rival.

The scars still itch on election eves. The temptation is there to not just tell you to vote, but suggest how you should. These days I just scratch the itch and urge only that you vote in good conscience, thoughtfully, proudly, for a cause or candidate in which or whom you believe. And if your chosen cause or candidate should fail to qualify for the brass ring, take comfort in the fact that when things go wrong in Ottawa – as they surely will – you will be able to say “now you know why I voted for ……..”

There are a few things we can be sure of as our newest political universe unfolds as dictated by the people: Whether we elect a minority government or a majority government, and of whatever political stripe, we shall send to Ottawa a majority of good men and women dedicated to public service.

True we shall, unfortunately, also elect with them a few avaricious men and women seeking power for self-gratification, a quick route to the pork barrel and every dollar they can grab to pad personal bank accounts.

Like the “Big One” waited for us on Canada’s West Coast, a major scandal involving the party taking power Tuesday morning is not an “if” but a “when”. It will come – and the pity is that when it does media will launch another corruption in government feeding frenzy, and the majority of Canadians will nod their heads in agreement with hardly a thought for the majority of MP’s who have never snitched a penny from the taxpayers – and never will.

Come Tuesday morning, whichever party gets the public nod, I shall not be fearful for the future of Canada. The good guys will, I am sure, always outnumber the bad ones. And to those good guys, whether blue ribbon major-names backed by millions in advertising, or money-short minors; whether winners or losers, I say, well done for having the conscience and courage to “light a candle (rather) than curse the darkness”. For that they can be proud – and we “sit at homes” who are quick to criticize but slow to offer public service of any kind, should be thankful.


  1. Newspapers and reporters trying to sway voters never seems to work out well. I grew up in a province where Tommy Douglas and the CCF party were always denigrated by the press. Editorials directed voters to not support them but the CCF and its successor NDP had some long innings.

    And I worked in Alberta when you were there and Ernie Manning was practically a one-man political show, seemingly forever despite the admonitions of that province’s press.

    Voters usually don’t like listening to newspapers.

  2. How many times does it take to get your people to quit using my old email address , bp.lane@shaw.ca. It’s obsolete and will bounce back emails in a few days! I have unsubscribed to your old Islander because it is just going to bounce back to your site in a few days. So long, Bill Lane.

  3. I agree that we will be in good hands regardless of whose. Public service is too difficult and, in our world, too well supervised to attract true ne’er-do-wells. There is no quick buck or easy ride in our elected world.

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