Opinion

Breaking news: Politicians refuse perks

Geographically, the City of Prince Rupert and the District of Port Edward are separated by only a 10-minute drive but when it comes to good governance they are world's apart.

In the past year, City of Prince Rupert has bandied about the word bankruptcy while the District adds zeros and commas to its bank balance.

One is business-friendly and fiscally responsible, the other, well, not so much.

Case in point came last week when District of Port Edward councillors politely declined an all-expense paid trip to Trinidad and Tobago.

Go ahead read that again.

Politicians refused a free trip to the West Indies — in January.

"We just had a trip, everything went well and I don't think we need to go again," District of Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald said.

MacDonald referred to a recent trip to Malaysia to visit Petronas, whose Canadian subsidiary is proposing a LNG facility on Lelu Island near Port Edward.

The Trinidad and Tobago trip was to visit the BG group's facilities — a trip Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem, Lax Kw'alaams Mayor Gary Reece and Metlakatla Mayor Harold Leighton went on earlier this year.

"I think all LNG terminals look the same to the untrained eye, but I do want to thank [BG] for the opportunity," Coun. Knut Bjorndal said.

In a day and age with the likes of Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy et. al. ad nauseum, it's refreshing to see a set of politicians not personally bellying up for government or special interest perks.

This recent decision not to take a free winter vacation is the classic example of why the District of Port Edward has been so successful. For them, the question is not 'what's in it for me?', but rather 'what's in it for Port Edward?'

The second trip would have been superfluous with little benefit — except maybe a suntan and a few umbrella drinks. But a responsible decision from Port Edward council is not anything strange.

Attend any of their council meetings or speak with the councillors, and one will quickly come to the conclusion that all the horses at the District of Port Edward are pulling in the same direction. They transparently work with business and government rather than against. Their proactive and reasonable approaches have proven effective time and again.

Frankly, the District of Port Edward council and staff are clear examples of local government done right.

It's unfortunate that the City of Prince Rupert council wasn't offered a free trip this winter.

Maybe while they were on vacation, the District of Port Edward council could fill in for a couple of weeks ... there is no question, the City of Prince Rupert would benefit from their approach to good governance.

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