EDITORIAL: A rock and a hard place

NDP's Parksville Qualicum candidate Barry Avis will be in tough if he decides to go on the offensive against Michelle Stilwell

The list of combatants is almost complete and the first shot across the bow has been fired.

The provincial election is set for May 14 and now the B.C. Liberals, NDP and Conservative Party have their candidates selected. We expect the Greens to follow soon.

First, we have to say how much we enjoy the fact we can tell you, and could have told you a few years ago, the election is set for May 14. It’s almost hard to imagine having elections timed by the whim of a party whip and the ruling party’s place in the polls, but that’s how it was for more than 100 years.

At Michelle Stilwell’s acclamation meeting Tuesday night, departing Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon took a jab at those who would try to unseat the B.C. Liberals here: “We are going to thrash whatever pathetic opposition there is.”

Now, this was said amongst party faithful and in a raw-raw-fire-up-the-campaign context, but it was a juicy tidbit nonetheless in a nomination meeting that had little, sorry, no drama.

The emergence of Stilwell as the de-facto incumbent in this race has to be troubling for her opponents, especially the NDP’s Barry Avis. While Avis has repeatedly said he wants to keep this campaign about the issues and not personalities, he is now facing a national and local hero who has overcome much to reach her goals.

In the political arena, perception can count for much. If Avis was to press Stilwell about her imminent departure for seven weeks to compete in the world championships, or her reasons for home-schooling her son, or her plans for the Paralympics in 2016, or her lack of political experience, some might be turned off the NDP candidate.

Like really, how do you look good going on the attack against a local hero?

Fear not, Barry Avis, or other candidates. That’s what we are here for. We have no problem asking Stilwell the tough questions and we do so today in a wide-ranging Q&A on page A9.

Thing is, her answers to the tough questions we posed seem, in our view, reasonable and logical.

Welcome to a rock and a hard place, Mr. Avis.