Politics in B.C. have always been defined as a tad bit quirky compared to our provincial cousins in the rest of the country.
We're particularly well known for our colourful characters, from Amor de Cosmos (our second premier, in case the name doesn't ring a bell, who was known for fistfights and tearful breakdowns) through to Bill Vander Zalm, whose impact on provincial politics continues today despite his departure from Victoria many years past, and Gordon Campbell (aka: the mug-shot seen 'round the world.)
And it's always been a partisan, swing-one-way-then-the-other, roller-coaster ride here in the west, with a public memory that is long and unforgiving.
Just drop words like "fast ferry" or "B.C. Rail" or "Casino-gate" into a conversation and stand back while things start to heat up-and there's always more grist for the mill. Here in B.C., it's a rare year that we don't get some boondoggle, disgrace, debacle or scandal of one variety or another.
Makes for great headlines. But it also, unfortunately, makes for a good diversion. Keeping the public riled up about something "shocking" keeps the conversation safely away from other, often more important topics of conversation and helps political parties rally a sense of partisanship among voters.
It's a political truth that has defined and shaped campaigns in this province since the beginning.
So expect to hear about all those past scandals-along with new ones like the Port Mann ice bombs-as we head into the stumping season in advance of election day on May 14.
We're predicting this will be a hotly contested election-and a close race always lends itself to muckraking and finger-pointing. Let's see if the hopefuls can keep the discussion on high ground, focused on real issues-certainly, the people of B.C. deserve that, and more.
With voting rates continuing to spiral downward, taking a new tact certainly can't hurt.