Political competition a good thing

Shirley Bond. / FILE PHOTO

by EVAN MATTHEWS

 As it stands now, Liberal MLA for Prince George-Valemount, Shirley Bond, is the only confirmed candidate for the provincial riding.

This issue of The Rocky Mountain Goat comes out on Feb. 16, putting us within three months of the May 9, 2017 B.C. Provincial General Election.

I’m weird. I love elections. Politics, whether municipal, provincial or federal, are all exciting to me because typically the topics affect most everyone and evoke engaging conversation.

As a journalist, I’m all about engaging conversation. So I approached all the major political parties in the Prince George-Valemount provincial riding to get the conversation going.

What did I find, you ask?

The B.C. Green Party does not have a candidate for the riding, as of now.

The B.C. Conservatives do not have a candidate for the riding, as of now.

The B.C. NDP? You guessed it, do not have a candidate for the riding.

And just for good measure, The Christian Heritage Party of British Columbia does not have a candidate for the riding, as of now.

So why is this troubling?

Shirley Bond announced her intention to run for her fifth consecutive re-election in July. She has a plan, yet her opposition — or lack thereof — seemingly do not.

I should point out here, this is not advocating against Shirley Bond in any way.

My time in the valley has shown me that if nothing else, Shirley Bond is an active and engaged representative in the riding.

Shirley Bond is everywhere. I’m always amazed at how well she gets around the region and at how many important events she makes it to.

Ms. Bond knows people of the valley by name, she knows what they care about, and she has a lot of experience.

These aspects make her a desirable candidate, maybe even a shoe-in in some people’s minds.

And if Shirley Bond does win, so be it. Her election would be a direct result of the people in this valley using the democratic process to put her there.

However, the fact that no other party has even named a candidate yet is a cause for concern.

The lack of interest in the region could mean, to me, only a couple of things.

One: MLA Shirley Bond is a lock for the win, so why waste party resources on a riding we have no chance in.

Two: There isn’t enough reason for our party to be interested in the Prince George-Valemount riding.

I don’t think it’s reason two.

As we’ve seen, there is economic, social and cultural interest in this riding. Think Kinder Morgan, Valemount Glacier Destinations or Borealis Geopower just off the hop.

But is it possible Shirley Bond is just too good of a politician to oppose? Possibly, but I’d still like to see the other parties try.

Competition pushes people to be better. Politics are no different.

While Shirley Bond is good at what she does, let’s push for an active discussion regarding regional topics, and let’s do it soon.

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