To the editor:
I felt compelled to express publicly how much I vehemently disagree with the opinion expressed by Alistair Waters in a recent City Confidential column (Nov. 8th, 2017).
For starters, it would be unfair to characterize the temporary loss of the constituency office in Kelowna West as both either something that is a significant detriment or that there’s some sort of groundswell of constituents clamouring for it to be reopened. Let’s face it, constituency offices largely serve only two functions: To provide a location for constituents to meet with their MLA on a particular issue or to facilitate connection between local citizens with relevant government departments.
On that score, they are pretty much irrelevant. We already have a provincial government contact centre called Enquiry B.C. that operates Mon. to Fri. from 7:30 am to 5 pm via a toll-free telephone number (1-800-663-7867) and an online contact form (http://bit.ly/enquirybc) staffed by non-partisan, trained and full-time public servants.
Second, Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas did not “jump ship to the NDP.” He didn’t even want to leave his party. His caucus voted to expel him because they were upset he took the Speaker’s job when the entire caucus was basically whipped by Interim Liberal Leader Rich Colemean into not accepting the job. He now sits as an Independent MLA and Speaker of the B.C. Legislature.
Third, in terms of predicting the future general voting day, that’s somewhat of a mug’s game. It’s true that Premier Horgan has until early February to call the byelection however, there is nothing that says it must be a 28-day writ period; that’s just the typical and/or minimum period. The Premier could decide to order 35- or 60-day campaign or, heck, even a nearly three month campaign as former Conservative PM Harper did in 2015.
At any rate, I welcome this absence of an MLA and a constituency office, for the aforementioned rationale but also for the cost savings. When we do eventually have an MLA, I would urge the relocation of the office to downtown Kelowna, the new population centre of the reshaped riding instead of the economic basket case that is West Kelowna.
Doug Mehus, West Kelowna
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