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Cybernaut

The Pundits

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He took his sweet time, but at last Premier Ujjal Dosanjh announced a date for the next provincial election – Wednesday, May 16. That’s May 16. Mark it on your calendar unless you are comfortable with a Liberal majority, because unless voters come out to support candidates of other parties, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Dosanjh is already running his campaign as the underdog, and other political parties have all but admitted that this race is more about pride and providing an alternative to the Liberals than actually winning seats.

And if you’re a Liberal supporter, don’t take their victory for granted. They were the favourites in the last election, and won the popular vote, but the NDP still squeaked into the Legislature with a comfortable majority.

www.elections.bc.ca

There’s nothing worse than showing up at the polls on election day to discover that your name is not on the list. Suddenly a ten-minute effort turns into an hour as you wait in line with all of the other unregistered schmoes to get your ballot. Register in advance at Elections B.C. to avoid all the hassle.

While your there, you can also find out where you can vote, and read a little on the candidates that are going to be on the ballot in your electoral area.

(If you’re the Chief Electoral Officer or the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, incarcerated in a penal institution serving a sentence of two years or more, or are prohibited for voting because of a prior conviction for a serious election offence such as bribery, then don’t bother – you’re not allowed to vote! The same applies if your under 18, have been in B.C. for less than six months, or are registered in another electoral district.)

Now that you’ve established your right to vote, you can sit back, pop some corn and enjoy the degrading public spectacle that is a constitutional democracy – a kind of WWF Smackdown with ties and reading glasses.

One of the best parts of an election, besides the debates and the smear tactics employed by the candidates, is the election coverage of political pundits – seasoned, cynical and embittered journalists who provide play by play coverage and analysis of the election.

www.vancouversun.com/newsite/opinion-c.html

The Vancouver Sun, like all Southam papers, is well-staffed with columnists and editorialists of every stripe and colour. You may not always agree with their views, but with a good columnist that’s hardly the point – unlike the daily news, which focuses on the five W’s and the How, a columnist draws comparisons and provides context that prompts the reader to think, to internalize, and, hopefully, to react. By agreeing or disagreeing with the content, you are reaching political conclusions of your own that can help you decide how to spend your vote.

www.theprovince.com

Columnists for The Province are just as good, and often more controversial than columnists for the Sun. One columnist in particular, Michael Smyth is particularly incisive, and has generated a large following of his own. Even MLAs, when they have something to leak or snitch to the media, call Smyth first. One example of this was Premier Dosanjh’s recent vacation in India – it turned into an official visit pretty quick, largely because Smyth leaked the details and the itinerary of the trip. Smyth has a good sense of humour, an excellent memory for hypocrisy, and no visible bias of any kind – he actually makes provincial politics interesting and fun to follow.

http://www2.mybc.com/news/election/

This is MYBC.com’s compiled election coverage with stories both on and off the beaten path. There are articles on the fringe candidates, opinion polls, and analyses and comparisons of party platforms. This site also covers the campaign issues, such as health care and tax cuts, giving you a birds-eye view of the election.

www.cknw.com

This is the official Web site of CKNW AM980 in Vancouver, a radio station that features a wide range of political commentary. The most recognizable voice on the political scene belongs to Rafe Mair. If you can’t get CKNW in your home, you can listen live via the Internet, and can even download Mair’s past editorials.

cbc.ca/news/radionews/newscast.html

When all else fails, you can always turn to the CBC. With hours of live and regional programming every morning, every aspect of this election, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, will be scrutinized in full through regular interviews with the candidates, and the incessant commentary of experts, spokesmen and women, and anyone who might be affected by the outcome of the election in one way or another.

When the CBC calls, everybody answers the phone, which ensures lively debates and daily coverage. You can listen in online at the above address.

www.bcpolitics.com

This is the home of B.C. Politics, a commentary-driven site put together by political analyst John Twigg. Insightful, scathing, superior, and sometimes humerous, Twigg is a hardcore conservative who basically started this site, and the Twigg Report, to take pot shots at the New Democratic Party. Although he denies being partisan in any way, and there was no Twigg Report before the NDP, it will be interesting to see if his tune changes with a new government in the legislature. Is he for the Liberals or against every politician who doesn’t vote his way?

He wants people to subscribe and pay for some of the content, but gives a little away for free.