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BASS: Leave it to Cavers to renew our faith in interesting politics
Just when I thought politicians in Kamloops had become boring, along comes Donovan Cavers.
I’ve been jealous of Toronto.
Its mayor just has to go out for a walk and it becomes international news, while our mayor is likely an unknown quantity in places where the two words Rob and Ford immediately elicit laughter or rolling eyes.
Our senator, Nancy Green Raine, is likely still on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Christmas-card list — the names Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy have likely been scratched off.
Our MP, Cathy McLeod, can be seen on television news sitting behind Harper and dutifully nodding when required, showing the appropriate disdain when NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair speaks and generally doing what governing MPs do these days.
Our MLAs — Terry Lake and Todd Stone — definitely aren’t in the same category as former MLA Kevin Krueger, perhaps the one local politician you could count on to say some incredible things some days.
The school board’s been pretty tame since Sandy Mallory and Lal Sharma moved on.
Even Arjun Singh, whose first term on council was, well, fascinating to watch, has become pretty tame.
But, the rookie councillor Cavers is in a class of his own.
There was that oh-so-strange Twitter debate in June between Cavers and resident Cindi Thompson, who used her 140-character limit to express her opinion on any potential raise in pay.
It led to some name-calling and Cavers creating some unique hash tags to describe her.
Eventually, Milobar had to weigh in officially and stop the silliness.
Last year, there was Cavers’ rant about licensing fees and big-box stores and the city giving a “free pass” to large stores over the smaller ones in the city.
That led to a guest column of his in KTW, in which where he decried the Walmarts of the world as being anti-Kamloops. I wonder if he realizes who these stores hire.
And I wonder what he’d say if, suddenly, Walmart or Target or Real Canadian Superstore suddenly announced they were closing and putting all those Kamloopsians out of work.
Cavers’ latest outburst, however, sets a new standard.
After a somewhat questionable discussion about the Nancy Bepple-inspired pay raises for council — only two-thirds of council was there for the discussion and vote that approved increases — Cavers sought out the media to dump on fellow councillor Ken Christian.
“Christian, for instance, has a fairly comfortable IHA [Interior Health Authority] pension, I’m sure, and this is just sort of an interesting conversation for him,” Cavers told the media.
“But, for those of us that are trying to make a living and building our first home, we need to have some semblance of a comfortable life while doing the job of being a councillor.”
What a cheap shot against a man who started out in politics in the city 20 years ago, when Cavers was just a kid in short pants.
There’s a simple reality here at play — no one forces one to run for office.
One makes that decision, then gets the support of others.
One looks at the potential position and all that comes with it and one decides whether one can live with that.
One understands that one’s time will be taken up with answering emails and talking with people and going to meetings and all those other things that come with being a politician.
Some people run for office because they truly believe in causes and have a comfy bank account.
Some run for office because they, too, are true believers and that is more important to them than personal gain.
Some run for office for the pay.
It’s the same in our career choices and Cavers chose to go into catering.
He, too, could have gone on to become an expert in health and gone to work with IHA — but he didn’t.
Fellow councillor Tina Lange has also spoken at times about how much work is involved in being on council and the difficulty she had juggling her workdays and her council responsibilities.
She didn’t criticize others, though, but made a decision with which she can live.
Perhaps Cavers needs to do the same self-assessment and decide if the council table is really where he wants to be.