An open letter to SOWK residents:
Thank you to everyone that participated and voted in the 2021 Federal Election. Turnout across the country was lower than average so I thank you for taking the time to engage.
Obviously, this election did not turn out how I wanted and I am disappointed and dismayed by the results. I am concerned about the rising hate and division seen in this riding and the country.
There is a continued erosion of trust in our institutions: political, health, and judicial. Racism, misogyny, and queer and trans phobia were all too alive in my experiences as candidate and appeared inflamed during this last election cycle. While I don’t have the answer to address all of this, I do feel it stems from fear, which perpetuates hate, and is caused by feelings of disempowerment.
One of the main issues that was brought up from this election is the need for electoral reform.
The continued pressure that voters feel to vote strategically has led to the election of candidates that don’t necessarily represent the values of the majority of constituents in our riding or the ridings across the country.
This is my request to Mr. Cannings: make electoral reform a real priority. Without this change, fear will continue to divide this country as people feel obligated, bullied, and disempowered into one party or another or continue to generate apathy.
I'm not sure what my next steps are, where my role is within the Green Party, or whether politics remains in my future. I remain committed to ensuring climate, economic, and social justice are priorities for decision-makers. I do feel that we need to increase civic literacy and engagement and that starts with younger people. Politics as a whole has to continue to increase its diversity but if we don't address the underlying fear and hate, it will never be a safe space for Indigenous peoples or equity-seeking groups.
I wish to say a huge thank you to the great efforts of my volunteers and the hours of time and energy they spent with me and this campaign.
And congratulations to Mr. Cannings - I look forward to the implementation of real change at the federal level and urge you to use your position of power to stand up for and address the systemic injustices that exist.
Tara Howse, Green Party Candidate for Southern Okanagan - West Kootenay