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A voter without a party

Rafael Posada
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Rafael Posada on the reason why he’s made his decision in the BC Liberal leadership race.

“Apolitical.”

That was always my answer when people asked me where I stood politically. For one reason: disappointment.

When I taught political science, I asked my students when you think about politics, which words come to mind?

Most had negative undertones: division, conflict, deception, power, status. Canadian political parties have been unable to resonate with young people, who—like most of us—care about issues, not parties.

Growing up in a family that argued politics over the dinner table, against the common advice, and believed in the importance of policy changes, it was natural for me to study public policy. Yet, I grew disappointed in many politicians and the political arena.

Not all, but many politicians have created a rhetoric fuelled with animosity, prejudice, and misinformation that has stalled progress. In my opinion, that rhetoric exacerbates discrimination and allows bigotry to prevail.

So, does that make politics bad? No, we just need to rebuild how we do politics because being apolitical is not a solution.

Politics needs to be about public engagement, representation, and dialogue to make decisions that take us forward. It needs to be about bringing different perspectives, without tolerating intolerance, and creating an environment that embraces our differences and empowers innovation.

I think a few things need to happen to accomplish this type of politics. We need to re-envision a more inclusive, collaborative, and compassionate political arena. One that moves away from divisive party politics that prevent us from finding consensus and achieving an equitable, sustainable, and thriving future.

We need to build a government that works collaboratively to eliminate the disadvantages that have left many behind, and instead implement equity of opportunity to achieve a fair society. It must not think in short, fixed terms, but acts on the existential socio-economic and environmental threats of our time; one that is founded with innovation, technology, and most importantly, people as the resources with which to build hot-wired economies.

This is a call to action for my fellow British Columbians who may feel the same way. Because, as a young voter within the 61 percent of British Columbians who are under 39 years old, I hope to build a life in this province. I care about affordability, sustainability, and productivity, three indicators that can determine my future in B.C.

I discovered quickly that apolitical was too easy of a stance to take, I still got to complain about the changes I wanted but it was an excuse to not do anything to create the necessary change.

Nobody was more surprised than me when I recently connected with an aspiring politician who, for the first time in a long time, made me hopeful that we can do politics differently in BC.

That’s why, I stand with Val Litwin for BC Liberal leadership to take the first step forward and redefine what success looks like for British Columbia. However, this goal goes beyond parties.

Let’s demand strong governments and oppositions that hold them accountable.

Let’s demand transparency, accountability, and a more collaborative political arena that creates progress on issues we care about.

Let’s demand leaders who believe in “action, not words. Impact, not spin,” as Val has said.

Let’s demand a fiscally responsible government that makes decisions based on data yet understands how to address the pressing socio-economic and environmental issues of our time.

All of that requires serious, decisive action. Val is a doer who understands the connection between people, the environment, and the economy. “Any government that fails to sincerely place people at the heart of what they do is no longer electable,” he has said.

Instead, I’ve decided to be one of the people at the heart of change. Are you?

Rafael Posada is a young entrepreneur and policy consultant. He is supporting Val Litwin’s BC Liberal leadership campaign

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