How civil was the provincial election?

One Man's Opinion
By Doug Collins
May 14, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Not very, if you want One Man’s Opinion.

I mentioned during the campaign how much I hated attack ads. Some thought they served a purpose. Maybe they do. Some people may even like them. I don’t. I believe firmly that our lack of civility towards each other is a leading cause of disruption in our world today. I have spent much time studying the negative impacts of uncivil behavior, and it’s shocking to see how many problems are created because we’ve forgotten how to be civil.

I’ve been an integral part of a civility movement within a fraternity I am a member of. Internationally, we have been working with the National Civility Centre in the U.S. and other groups to create civility scorecards to measure this kind of behavior, and focus on doing a better job of eliminating things like cyberbullying, and other uncivil activity which is the root of deeper issues.

How much effect do you think the behavior of Donald Trump has on the rest of society? How much impact do you think much of the tripe on social media has? Over 10 per cent of victims of cyberbullying commit suicide because of it. An expert in internet crime against children recently told a U.S. seminar that we seem to forget we need to be kind. Cathie Bledsoe said students commit suicide because they can’t stand up to general online harassment. How do you teach people to be strong, and withstand the spreading of lies?

Politicians are among those groups who have to have a terribly thick skin to withstand the crap they have to deal with online. In the recent provincial election campaign, we saw the Facebook and Twitter rampages by ignorant people who would hide behind internet aliases, and the belief they can say what they want because it’s not in person. I honestly don’t know how Christy Clark and John Horgan could survive that. It’s not only the attack ads from the other party, but the comments that often go with social media posts, where the attacks tend to be extremely personal and deal very little with policy, but more about the way a person looks or acts. There is nothing wrong with disagreement, it’s how that disagreement is expressed that’s the problem. And sadly, no one holds anyone up to a higher standard.

Another person told this same seminar that 98 per cent polled for a recent study reported they have experienced incivility at their workplace. And I think if people see their leaders being uncivil, it’s easy for them to fall into the same pattern. While our election in B.C. wasn’t as uncivil as last year’s U.S. election, it could have been a lot better. And isn’t it interesting that many of the really vitriolic comments I saw on the web came from groups who are dealing with our children, who are dealing with patients suffering illness, who deal with the most vulnerable in our society. I understand people get passionate, but at some point, the passion has to be tempered with civility, and it’s obvious from the last 40 days in B.C., we still have a long way to go.