Opinion

EDITORIAL: Who was Parksville mayor targeting?

With his rant Thursday night, was Parksville Mayor Chris Burger making a statement about the job performances of MLA Michelle Stilwell and MP James Lunney?

Was he also setting himself up for a run at the retiring Lunney's seat?

Burger (see story page A1) told a crowd of 100 business people at The Beach Club the people of this Island need a better voice in Ottawa and Victoria, perhaps by the creation of a mayors' caucus.

Here are some direct quotes from that speech:

• "I'm just not feeling like we're getting any attention."

• "We don't have an effective voice, someone to pull us all together."

• "I just think there's a voice missing."

Burger was speaking mostly about infrastructure money, about how the 750,000 residents of Vancouver Island aren't getting a return for their tax buck.

Perhaps we think too narrowly, too political, but it sure sounded like he was slagging the efforts of Stilwell and Lunney. Later, he denied that was his intent, and he denied he is seeking higher office.

Any job description of an MLA or MP would have to include representing the interests of their constituents in the halls of power in Victoria or Ottawa, respectively. Be their voice, essentially, and make sure a good chunk of the tax dollars sent out of the constituency come back in the form of roads, rail, health care etc.

Burger says we don't have an effective voice, we're not getting any attention, there's a voice missing. Those are his words, not ours.

How that can be viewed as anything other than an indictment of the performances of Stilwell and Lunney is beyond us.

Kudos to Burger for stepping up to the plate, but it's a bit rich for him to say he hasn't shot proverbial arrows at our local MLA and MP. He should own his arrows.

Unfortunately and inevitably, toes are stepped on when people speak out about a perceived injustice. It's the dirty part of progress, the squeaky-wheel theory of getting one's share of the pie.

Perhaps in this country — a place where even out-of-service buses say they are sorry — we don't want to be direct or accusatory. Fair enough. We would be interested to hear from readers what they think about who or what was targeted by Burger and his comments.

— Editorial by John Harding

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