I am by no means a political expert. Not even close. It's pretty embarrassing, and with exception to a passionate few, I'd say that the average Canadian, at least here in BC, is equally perplexed when it comes to local politics.
I mean, how do you go about explaining it? Where do you even start?
My Dad, up until he retired a few years ago, taught high school science in Richmond. I remember him voting for Gordon Campbell about a decade ago - who knows what his reasons were. (I'm sure it didn't hurt that my sister's good friend was Liberal Attorney Geoff Plant's daughter.) However, once in power, Campbell's government quickly tore up any legally binding contracts he had with the province's educators, and, well... it all went to shit really quickly. We'd learn to never talk politics at home unless we wanted to see our dad seething and frothing at the mouth in frustration. I'm sure he wasn't alone.
Last night I hung with my friend Stephanie. Stephanie's a great girl - enthusastic and gung ho for anything. I originally worked with her at a mining company back in 2007. I was making maps and doing GIS work for them while she came on board as a general assistant, fresh out of college from Montana.
The thing with Stephanie is that she loves politics, but is blissfully ignorant of Canadian politics, and Canada in general. Having recently received her permanent residency, she confided that she didn't feel like she could properly vote in Canada because she didn't want to be an uneducated voter. "I get American politics and I understand British politics, but I don't understand Canadian politics" she said. "So educate yourself!" I proclaimed, and we delved into Canadian Politics 101... the blind leading the blind.
I immediately showed her Laila Yuile's 100 Reasons Gordon Campbell Must Go and encouraged her to read it as a sort of "crash course" into BC politics, into what's relevant and topical on British Columbian minds. We also went through the websites of the BC Liberal, Conservative, and NDP parties, in addition to what was written on Wikipedia. I encouraged her to ditch anything she knew about American politics because you just can't draw parallels to politics here, even if the names are similar. You just have to work from a blank slate.
I also suggested what I've always believed: If you think you're confused about Canadian politics, don't underestimate yourself. Every Canadian is equally confused.
We were finishing up a bottle of wine when she said she'd bookmark the Gordon Campbell blog post, and that she'd read it the next morning. I Canada Line'd myself home, crashed, woke up, and found myself at work the following day at 9am.
11:30am comes around and Gordon Campbell resigns. Twitter explodes. The people rejoice.
I tell my coworkers and their jaws drop. What will it mean for the BC tourism industry? (Post edit: I work in the tourism industry and we were having a meeting with a local DMO at the time. Whatever happens in provincial politics trickles down to local destination marketing organizations).
But how do you begin to explain the significance of this moment to somebody outside of BC?
How do you begin to teach somebody Canadian politics when there's no eloquent way to begin?
Seriously... I'd like to know.