Step up to the ballot box

Local leaders need a broad sense of what's possible given the global nature of the challenges we face.

As I’ve written many times before, I think we’re living unsustainably (economically, socially and ecologically) and the only way we can reverse this situation is through a dramatic change in the way we’re governed.

Hence, my humble attempt to change that dynamic by giving up a chunk of my life to provincial politics. It’s also the main reason I left the party system, as the pettiness of partisan politics is one of the major reasons why we can’t get to good governance.

The unsustainability of our economic system is becoming more apparent every day. The current global economic meltdown is a result of decades of wrong thinking about taxation, the role of government in the economy and the so-called benefits of free trade and globalization. The head of the International Monetary Fund is now saying we’re facing a “lost decade” if we don’t get a handle on the mess in the European Union and she, along with other G20 leaders, are virtually begging the “BRIC” nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) to bailout the West. Think about the irony of that situation for a moment.

However, these leaders are not challenging the assumptions and economic models that got us into this mess in the first place. They’re simply panhandling on a grand scale.

For the few economists who are thinking more creatively, the answers to our economic woes don’t lie in more bailouts and more tax reductions. Instead, they claim the answers lie in a variation of that old adage: “think global, act local.”

The problems we face may be global in nature, but the solutions lie locally through a reinvention of robust communities with their own local economies and the ability to take quick and dramatic local actions to address global issues like climate change.

That’s why it is so critical to pay attention to and participate in the local government elections going on right now. We desperately need local leaders who demonstrate a broader sense of what’s possible given the global nature of the challenges we face.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.

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