B.C.'s past political blunders hold little sway over Millennial voters

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For those who have voted in many provincial elections over the years, the accumulated political scandals of the past could influence how they vote next month.

But for young voters lacking that political memory, past controversies have little to do with the issues facing them today, and may not determine which party they choose May 9.

"It's a very difficult situation for younger voters, sometimes they feel left out of the conversation when people are talking about events that preceded them, or certainly preceded their memory," said Hamish Telford, professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Fast ferries fiasco

One event that helped shape the province's current political climate was the fast ferries fiasco of the late 1990s.

At the time, then-premier Glen Clark commissioned the building of three faster, more efficient B.C. ferries to improve the company's service and simultaneously spark the B.C. shipbuilding industry.

The plan wasn't as seamless as Clark, a New Democrat, may have hoped.

"The ferries were basically over time, over budget, and just not very good," UBC political science professor, Richard Johnston, told On The Coast's Jason D'Souza.

"It just seemed to capture in itself all the stuff that critics of the NDP in the 90's wanted to say."

The ferries were eventually sold for a fraction of the price they cost to build, leaving a bad taste for many taxpayers. Since losing power in 2001, the NDP have not formed government since.

No harmony in HST

Fast forward to 2009, and the big political sour note was harmonized sales tax under then-premier Gordon Campbell who had a majority Liberal government.

It was touted as a business friendly tax, but the way it was implemented left many voters feeling betrayed, said Telford.

"The premier had indicated that a major policy initiative was off the table before and during the election campaign, then right afterwards, indicated that it was not only on the table but it was going to happen in short order.

"They felt that the premier frankly had, to put it politely, pulled the wool over their eyes.

 Ultimately, the tax was Campbell's undoing, he said.

During this election, Kathleen Yang, a 23-year-old political science graduate from Simon Fraser University said she would like to see that political conversation shift to the present tense.

"I think regardless of political affiliation, people know what they care about and it's when these narratives get in the way of letting us vote for the things we care about that is extremely problematic."

To hear the full segment aired on the CBC's On The Coast listen to media below