Just what is the job description of ‘elected representative’?
These positions generally don’t come with a manual, and there is no shortage of people who will tell you exactly how you should do it, in no uncertain terms.
It’s kind of like parenting. Win the big election, and then what?
One reader this week sent us a missive suggesting MLA Ron Cantelon must have something better to do with his time than cut the ribbon Thursday on the big craft market (Parksville Mayor Chris Burger was there too, but he avoided the scorn of this particular reader). And as soon as the words MP James Lunney-trip-Israel-Middle-East-unrest appear in the same news story, our e-mail inbox fills rapidly.
Like anything else in life, perhaps it’s all about balance. We believe Cantelon and Lunney are duty bound to greet people, award people, mix with them and add some pomp and circumstance to any event. There are many people who still respect the offices of mayor, MLA or MP and welcome them to their events and grand openings.
Both Cantelon and Lunney do not carry heavy ministerial loads, so they should be available for these kinds of things in their ridings.
The problem for Cantelon in particular is many people are angry the legislature is not sitting right now. This leads some voters to go bonkers when they see a photograph in The News of a Liberal MLA cutting a ribbon at a craft fair.
We are rarely shy in this space when it comes to criticizing politicians, but we are sympathetic with them when it comes to how they fill their calendars. Clearly, they cannot win. If they are in Victoria or Ottawa too much, they are accused of being out of touch with their constituents. Cut a few ribbons in Parksville or Qualicum Beach and they should be in Ottawa or Victoria fixing health care.
We have yet to come across an MLA or MP who does not work enough hours. And with tens of thousands of employers, Cantelon’s schedule isn’t going to make all of them happy. And his contract with these employers is up for renewal every four years if anyone believes they can do a better job.
— Editorial by John Harding