In his Dec. 8 editorial, John Harding published a withering critique of provincial parties and their tendency to suffocate or pigeonhole local candidates, turning them into little more than “a boring robot
. . . force-fed lines for the cameras.”
Perhaps Harding has a point in regards to attitudes of provincial parties, but his application of this attitude to the New Democratic Party candidate Sue Powell is baseless. Harding criticizes Powell’s comments on “important public services like schools and hospitals” being “cut and cut.” Harding writes that “there is no hospital in the constituency Powell is trying to win” and thereby situates Powell’s comments on hospitals as evidence of provincial offices influence on the local campaign.
He also raises the concern that Powell’s comments on state of public education are potentially a critique of the local school board.
The reality is that cuts to health care and hospitals affect people everywhere regardless of constituency. Cuts to health care will hurt our local clinic and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, which serves the population of this constituency.
As for Harding’s comments on Powell’s concern for the local school board, they are entirely unfounded. The Board of Education of SD69 has fully committed itself to ensuring that the adequate funding of public education is a top issue for this upcoming election. Powell’s comments are far from a critique of the local board and far from lines delivered by provincial office. Powell’s comments represent a local candidate for provincial election listening closely to the issues presented by local trustees and bringing them into the elections discourse. None of Powell’s comments are out of place regarding the issues faced by the population of this community as all address important local concerns.