EDITORIAL: Diverse issues

Consensus building in this province is a difficult proposition. Not quite an exercise in futility, but it’s in the neighbourhood.

Consensus building in this province is a difficult proposition. Not quite an exercise in futility, but it’s in the neighbourhood.

Think of the varied forms of land we have. The regions of this province look very different from each other and have different challenges.

A Prince George winter looks nothing like January in Victoria. Nelson and Trail could not be more different than Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

The climate can shape people’s views on many subjects. It has a real effect on the economy and what can and cannot be done to create and sustain jobs and services.

The diversity of this province — both its land and people — is never more evident than it is every year at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference. To a city councillor from, say, Williams Lake, Vancouver and Victoria politicians must sound like they are from a distant land speaking an unfamiliar language when they talk about homelessness issues.

While this kind of diversity makes us a unique and enviable province, it also presents problems for politicians, especially the ones who are sent to Victoria as MLAs. It poses problems for political parties, too.

The NDP, for example, has a long history of support from trade unions. Huge forestry or mining or oil and gas projects can mean a lot of union jobs. But the NDP all has a strong faction that is, for the lack of a better term, green, people who do not support mega projects that scar the land.

The B.C. Liberals have different challenges, but with a similar theme of geographical/philosophical diversity.

Perhaps it’s just the age-old city/country debate, but it seems more complex than that in B.C.

It is, in a way, like trying to keep a country together, this B.C. consensus building exercise. The issues and people of New Brunswick, for example, are much different than those in Saskatchewan.

What is a party, a leader, an MLA to do? The easy answer is to keep tabs on what is being said on Main Street in your constituency and vote accordingly. But that’s naive — our powerful party system gets in the way of that form of simplicity and if you are a member of the governing party you have a wider responsibility for the entire province, not just your hometown.

There is no simple answer. Perhaps it is just a matter of holding on for a never-ending, bumpy ride. But we should never lose sight of the fact that this diversity should do more to make us a great place than it does to drive us apart.

— Editorial by John Harding

Just Posted

Third delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives April 26

Vehicles should expect intermittent, single-lane alternating traffic

City of Parksville to look into cost, process of beach cleanup

Cleanup would include removing rotten logs, adding sand

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

RCMP ask Parksville Qualicum Beach businesses for help battling thieves

‘With your assistance forensic evidence could be located for prosecution’

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Most Read