Published Oct 20 as a letter to the editor in the Penticton Herald

Re: “Ashton wins Herald forum,” (Herald column, Oct. 17).

I’m responding to James Miller’s friend who described me as a “future politician” after watching our election forum.

Thank you for watching!

I know it was meant a compliment, I appreciate it. However, if I am ever described as a “politician,” then I am doing something wrong. A politician compromises their values to toe the party line. A politician will hide their true feelings if it means they will lose votes. A politician cares more about getting elected and their pension than real conversations.

I will not compromise my values for anything.

The state of our democracy saddens me. It has devolved into talking points, divisive issues, buying votes, and slinging mud. The media is copy-and-paste clickbait robots trying to see how fast they can post an article, number of likes, and traffic for advertisers.

I’ve been asked by many people, “Why are you doing this?” To quote Ted Shumaker: “It’s urgent and important.”

Our political system is failing us. B.C. has a unique population distribution with 80% of the population in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island with the rest of the population far away and spread out over an area twice the size of California. I’ve watched our democracy decline. We need independence in our Legislature now. We continue to vote one wing or the other in, our taxes go up, and the divide between us grows. We’ve forgotten that collaboration breeds ideas.

No, I’m not a politician. I don’t have the ability to lie, take advantage of people, or mislead anyone. I need to sleep at night. I hold myself accountable and live with integrity so I can teach my teenage sons what being a responsible, free thinking human being is. I think we all have the ability to do so much more as a society in all areas. We have the ability to come up with solutions together that are better and faster than the government.

We need more freedom in our lives to make our own decisions. Rather than fighting with our teachers, nurses, unions and healthcare workers, what if we allowed them more control over their own day? What if we allowed more personal choice?

We can do better than politicians.

I’ve been described as a dreamer and an optimist. I dream of not being manipulated by marketing techniques or indoctrinated by clickbait media. It’s possible, and it can start here.

Keith MacIntyre

Candidate for Penticton