Duh, governments make a difference.

Ok I'm going to rant. Just a touch.

And btw, to get my drift, you should first see BC: Canada's Worst Place for Students.

In that earlier post, the collapse of BC's higher education access illustrated how our lives can change by which political party gets elected.

But of course, this vulnerablity is what we live with, no matter where we are. This is not just about BC.

The change that follows elections isn’t always extreme or fast. But when it is, look out. Before unleashing a hell on earth, Germany's Nazi regime got itself elected. Voting sure made a difference that day.

Differences in governments run from subtle to extreme. In the case of a genocidal dictatorship that starts off as elected, the difference is such that it seems ridiculous to mention in the same breath. But the point is, there will always be a difference.   

Let's step back from extreme examples and look at the everyday present. You’ve just read about the changes that led BC to plummet from Canada's best in higher education access to the worst.

That came from one small government decision on top of another, on top of another, and so on. 

This steady, steep fall from first to last didn't come from a disaster or economic crisis. It came from the differences between the beliefs and priorities of two political parties.

One party (the BC NDP) prized education and local investment. The next (the BC Liberal Party which, to be accurate, combines Liberals with Conservatives) prized the Olympics and privatization.

So education became a place to find money for the new government's priorities. Money would come back to education later, people were told. 

Sadly, BC’s economy did not respond much to the Olympics and privatization. Costs went up. Wealth didn’t trickle down as predicted to smaller priorities such as education.

Lots of predictions fizzle, no matter which party makes them. But by past action and financial support, we can see the unique priorities of each party. 

We may not realize how sharp the differences can get. But we can see there will be a difference.

So we're not helpless.

So why in BC, did people keep voting for the government that sharply cut access to higher education?

Maybe because only a minority actually voted for it.

Its basic math.

In BC, the two main parties get close results in their total vote. And in the last few BC elections, more than 40% of eligible voters stayed home.

So – whichever party is chosen – only a minority of BC residents actually vote for the government that takes power.

For BC students and their parents, the effect has been dramatic.

I'll wrap up in this final post.  

© Jeannine Mitchell 2014