COLUMN: Election campaign stuck in tot lot

NANAIMO – Election issues take backseat to childish tactics.

I had such high hope this provincial election campaign was going to be different.

This was going to be the one where candidates were going to stay away from the antics more often seen in a child’s tot lot and stick to the issues important to British Columbians.

God knows we need a government prepared to lead us through what I  think is going to be a tumultuous time for the province.

We’ve got increasing debt and less ability to make ends meet, a health-care system in need of life support, ongoing education problems with no real soultion in sight, pipeline and oil tanker debates that need settling, an exodus of workers making a beeline to provinces where jobs are plentiful and a B.C. Ferries corporation that is nothing but a whirlpool that sucks down boat loads of our money.

And what do we get?

In the first week candidates were getting fired left and right for remarks they made. Wouldn’t parties dig a little deeper into the character of individuals they choose to fly the flag and be a face of the party? It doesn’t instil any confidence in me to vote for a quickly found replacement.

And then, instead of discussing how school boards hope to pay to supply our children with an education, the focus is on Christy Clark and how she ran a red light in the early morning with her child in the car.

My first thought when I heard that was ‘if there was no traffic to be seen, I would do that.’

It’s probably good odds the majority of drivers would do that if the chance presented itself.

I’d rather politicians figured out how to fund B.C. Ferries as part of the highway system than focus on the piece of highway or road Clark drove on.

We also had Adrian Dix promising to run a ‘clean’ campaign with no attack ads. Oh, right, ‘truth’ ads.

Dix was going to focus on the issues and leave the dirty politicking to the Liberals. Great idea. The only two problems was he didn’t say squat about the issues, and even when he did compliment another party, there was a little jab, a little dig that came across ‘nice’ but was in fact a backhanded compliment.

The B.C. Conservatives promised liquor sales in neighbourhood convenience stores. Thank goodness. I’l sleep better knowing my six-pack of beer is just a walk away while ER doctors are overworked and health authorities and the nureses’ union fight over budgets versus patient care.

We’ve had furors over paid front page ads in newspapers, stolen election signs and even signs from one party blocking those of another.

The party leaders might as well drop the distraction plans, climb out of the sandbox and duke it out until one is left standing to be named premier of the province. There must be a playground bully amongst them.

Yes, it’s all childish nonsense, but it’s a classic manoeuvre.

Give the voters something else to keep them busy and they won’t push the candidates to tell them how they will deal with real problems and lead this province into the future.

What’s next? Who knows. We still have three days of campaigning before we head to the polls.

Whichever party comes out on top is going to have its hands full righting the ship because I don’t believe all the talk that B.C. came out of the economic recession relatively unscathed is true. We’re still in for some tough times and need competent leaders at the helm.

Let’s just hope they’ve got the childish antics out of their system and are ready to govern like adults.