Skip to main content

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ADAM OLSEN -- The conflict of partisan politics can also have the undesirable effect of frustrating citizens and discouraging them from engaging

Over the past few years, I’ve been mulling the difference between politics and governance. If you have been at one of my public presentations, then you’ve likely heard me working this topic over. It’s also appeared in various forms in my blog as well.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
As we stumble through this federal election, we see the politics on full display. The discourse of our elections should be about how those who are lucky enough to be elected will govern.

The definition of politics is “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.” The definition of governance is “the action or manner of governing.”

Elections bring out the worst aspects of the conflict in our system of governance.

I have argued in past posts that the conflict between political parties produces tension, and the tension in a minority government like we have in British Columbia, serves the public interest. Tension is an important part of governance. However, the conflict of partisan politics can also have the undesirable effect of frustrating citizens and discouraging them from engaging.

The public’s opinion of politicians bottoms out.

Suppressing the vote
This is unfortunate for the quality of our governance and the integrity of our democracy but it is the deliberate strategy of political parties. With so many unknowns in an election, backroom operatives try to minimize as many unknowns as possible.

In this reality, political parties intentionally use conflict to frustrate voters and suppress their desire to participate. The strategy is to identify your supporters and target them to get out to vote.

Inspiring a whole bunch of new voters disrupts this formula and changes the battlefield. It’s modern politics. The multi-billion-dollar pre-election announcements greasing target riding's is politics.

Increasingly, politics is shifting more toward the second half of the definition than the first. The focus is on the conflict between political parties rather than governing a country or area.

Good governance requires only a little politics. That’s back to the tension between government and opposition that I mentioned earlier. It requires the right balance to be achieved -- and all the parties’ focus to be on the best outcomes for the country or jurisdiction. If the only thing the politicians and parties are focused on is gaining or maintaining power, then governance falls victim to politics.

As the days pass in this federal election, I hope they focus far more on governing our country, than they have in the first week.

As an MLA I write this as much to highlight my experience in governance thus far, as I do a reminder to myself to not get sucked into the politics, rather focus on good governance. And, in my campaigns always work to inspire voters and get as many people out to vote as possible. I'll write more on this in a future post.

Adam Olsen ... is a Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Saanich North and the Islands. Born in Victoria, BC in 1976, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula. He is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (W̱JOȽEȽP), where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.


Popular posts from this blog

It seems the call for blood donors is being responded to, however ... “This effort is a marathon, not a sprint” says Canadian Blood Services

A week and a half ago I wrote the commentary ... “ While the national inventory is currently strong, an increase in blood donor cancellations is a warning sign of potential challenges to maintaining a health inventory of blood ” It was written as a result of talk about a potential blood shortage that would occur if people stopped donating due to the COVID-19 virus. It seems the call to Canadians was responded to, however, as I was told this afternoon ... “ T his effort is a marathon, not a sprint ”. As it now stands now, donors are able to attend clinics which are held in Vancouver (2), Victoria, Surrey, and in Kelowna, so I asked if there any plans to re-establish traveling clinics to others communities - for example in Kamloops, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke or Cranbrook, and perhaps further north at perhaps Ft. St. John? According to Communications Lead Regional Public Affairs Specialist Marcelo Dominguez, Canadian Blood Services is still on

FEDLSTED -- Rules will have to relax-- the question is how and when

The media has created a fervour over the mathematical models that allegedly help governments predict the future of Coronavirus infections in the general population. Mathematical modelling has limited use and value. We need to understand is that the data available on Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Canada is far too small for statistical reliability. The data available for the whole world is useless due to variables in how nations responded to Coronavirus infections. There is no commonality in steps taken to combat virus spread and no similarity in the age demographics of world nations, so the numbers you see on the daily tracking of world infections are not useful in developing a model of infection rates that can be relied on. Mathematical models of the future spread of Coronavirus are better than nothing, but not a whole lot better.  Mathematical models must include assumptions on virus spreads, and various factors involved. As they are used in projections, a small erro

AARON GUNN -- He is, at his core, an ideologue, meaning the facts of any particular issue don’t actually matter

Ben Isitt - City Councillor and Regional Director Victoria City Council and its resident-genius Ben Isitt is back with another dumb idea. Introducing a motion to ban the horse-drawn carriages that have coloured Victoria’s downtown streets for decades, calling them “an outdated mode of transportation”. Are you serious?   No one is actually commuting by horse and carriage. They are here for tourists and residents alike to interact with world-class animals and discover the magic and history of our provincial capital. It’s part of what gives Victoria its charm. And the truth is these horses are treated better than anywhere else in the world. They probably live better lives than many British Columbians.   And talk to anyone who works with these horses and they’ll all tell you the exact same thing: this is what the horses love to do. This is what they were bred for and trained for. This is what gives their lives purpose and meaning. But maybe we shouldn’t be su


Show more