Boehme: ‘Stepping away from a broken system and stepping up for change’

Ryan Boehme taking his Oath of Office as the 2018-2022 Kingston City Council is sworn in on December 4, 2018. Photo by Tori Stafford.

Editorial note: The following is a submitted letter to the editor. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Kingstonist.

Regrettably, I must inform you that I am officially stepping down as PC Candidate for Kingston and the Islands. I do not make this decision lightly; on the contrary, it was made in the best interest of my family, the people of this riding and democracy as a whole.

Unfortunately, it has become clear to me that, as a representative of the people at the provincial or federal level, we do not truly get to be a voice for the people who elect us. Instead, we are expected, forced, and even coerced to follow our party’s narrative over that of the people.

I believe change is necessary to once again elevate the will of the people; and for that to happen more and more citizens, politicians and candidates need to stand up and demand change.

I have considered this matter in depth and have come to the conclusion that I cannot work within the current broken and inadequate party system. If walking away now creates a spark for change or helps to draw more attention to the failures of this system, then I have hope it can be changed for the better in the future.

With today’s technology, we have more tools than ever to allow for a healthier and more open democracy, and that can give voice to the will of its constituents. Unfortunately, we continue to exist in a system that was designed before phones, the internet and high-speed travel existed. To truly create change, a political party would have to willingly reduce their own power when elected in order to empower the people they represent. It seems unlikely that would happen without immense public pressure. However, I believe it is possible – we can bring change as Canadians by increasingly calling out the broken system and demanding better.

This is not a one-party issue, though – this is an all-party issue. It occurs in any party that is “whipped”; whether at the federal level where orders come from the Prime Minister’s Office or at the provincial level where orders come from the Premier’s Office. I truly believe we are, at best, a democracy only every four years or at election time. Under this current broken system, MPs and MPPs cannot truly represent the will of those who elected them for fear of reprisal, discipline or being ousted from their own parties.

I would like to thank my supporters; I truly appreciate all your encouragement, support and help since announcing my candidacy. I will continue to work to bring attention to the failings of our system in an effort to better it; however, I do not believe it can be done from within that very system.

I think we all need to ask ourselves what role we can perform to fix this broken system and start demanding a democracy that truly reflects the will of the electors and not the will of the party in power in that moment. Taking the recent federal election as a prime example, the percentages of votes do not reflect the seats gained by each party and voter turnout is decreasing. More and more voters are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the current broken system.

Even simple changes can have a profound effect and be a solid first step in empowering the will of the people over the will of the party, such as free votes by MPs and MPPs and allowing them to vote based on the will of their constituents and not the will of the party.

So many of us recognize that the system is broken; when are we going to do something about it? Now is time to step up for change; and I intend to find a way to do that.

Ryan Boehme is a Kingston City Councillor currently representing Pittsburgh District, and the now former provincial candidate for the Ontario PC Party.

9 thoughts on “Boehme: ‘Stepping away from a broken system and stepping up for change’

  • I hope that means that you will continue to represent Pittsburgh until the next municipal election and then run again for this seat. You’ve been a great councillor for our area. City councils, where partisan politics isn’t in play, is the closest way to connect and represent your constituents. Nobody is “whipped” or kicked out in municipal politics (except maybe for ethical violations)!

  • Brave statement Ryan. Good on you for standing up for your principles.

  • Totally agree. The party system is too dictatorial.

  • This letter expresses what so many feel. We assume my representatives, represent us. Here’s hoping this brave move which underlined the integrity of this Former candidate does indeed spark a conversation.

  • I agree completely. I am so sick of the endless sniping and blinkered party criticisms we have just seen and would to see more collaboration amongst politicians and more independent views allowed by the leaders and their unelected teams.

  • So sorry to learn of your decision, Ryan, but I respect your decision and I share many of the concerns you express. This past federal election has exposed the many weaknesses in our current system and the shortage of hope that anything will improve. I have always been encouraged that despite the many challenges, young, experienced and committed people like you are willing to stand for public office. Alas, your decision is a reminder that we need change if we are to continue to attract highly qualified candidates for these very demanding and responsible positions. The four out of every 10 voters who chose not to participate in this week’s election sent a loud and ominous message about the current state of our democracy. Best of luck in your mission to make things better. Sally Barnes

  • I totally agree. Party politics is such a waste of political energy as well as taxpayers money. Currently, I agree, we are only a democracy for 1 minute every four years. Also, as each side of the spectrum gets it’s kick at the can, they always undo what the other side has accomplished. Such a waste.

  • It would be helpful if he laid out the specific basis of his disagreement instead of concealing his views in bland generalizations. Every party without exception insists that its members toe the line. Alas, that’s been true for many decades now. So, which of his party’s policies does he find unpalatable? Now that would be a brave and principled statement.

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