June 2010 Archives

Voters in training – is media cynicism undermining our faith in politics?

Today, too many of us curse at the thought of politics. During the last Provincial election we saw a precipitous ten percent drop in voter turnout from four years earlier. Young people are staying away from politics in droves. Media rarely if ever compliment people in public life for real acts of leadership.

How did we get here? How is it that people who engage in politics as volunteers are not only rare, but are looked upon with suspicion by the media? I've watched this happen over time, where being "politically active" has become a pejorative for many. Perhaps we should ask, if we don't have people engaged in politics, then what?

As you can imagine, I take a more favourable view of political involvement. To me being active in politics, like any form of community volunteerism, is a higher calling. I salute everyone who gives their time as a volunteer. May Brown, for example, even at 90-years old is a great example of that volunteer spirit, and yet she remains steadfastly political.

Besides my considerable time commitment to CityCaucus.com, I'm doing a lot of media for which I rarely get compensated. Still, I relish the opportunity to speak publicly on so many issues. I'm extremely pleased to be a part of the weekly discussion that takes place on the Bill Good Show on CKNW. My colleague Daniel set the bar high during his 18 months there, and I can only hope that my contributions measure up against the collective experience of Bill, and fellow panelists Jim Green and Frances Bula.

I've been invited to comment often on Canada's largest local newscast, GlobalTV's News Hour. Once again, it's very gratifying that I can be a part of such a successful broadcast as that. I contribute a column at 24 Hours Vancouver – Metro Vancouver's third largest daily – every 2 weeks for which I receive a modest payment. I've been welcomed at Shore 104FM to provide a lighthearted weekly political commentary, and I salute them for experimenting with this feature in a time when mainstream radio has become extremely predictable. I've also enjoyed working with CBC Early Edition, as well as CTV and CBC TV over the past year, and contributing to the Vancouver Sun's op/ed page.

I do all this because of my respect for politics, which I think is perhaps the best tool we have to ensure a civil society. I've worked on political campaigns since I was in high school. In my lifetime I've made phone calls, stuffed envelopes and knocked on doors for countless political candidates of many stripes. I'm an unabashed political partisan, and a card-carrying member of the BC Liberal Party and the NPA.

Apparently for some people, this is supposed to be news.

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