EDITORIAL: On message

Stilwell said she wanted to provide some facts because media reports are not accurate.

There was a time a couple of years ago that elections seemed to come fast and furious. Provincial then municipal then federal.

We are getting a break from all that now, but the next one is on the horizon.

In about a year, British Columbians will go to the polls in a provincial election. Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell made us think of that when she said to a Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce crowd last week: “Hopefully, after the election, I will be here to give you another update.”

Early in her speech to the chamber, Stilwell said she wanted to provide some facts about what the provincial government has been doing lately because media reports are not accurate.

When we suggested to her later that the first sign of a government in trouble is an attack on the media, one of the people nearby suggested all governments have a strained relationship with the media from day one of their mandates. Fair comment.

Stilwell put the election in our mind’s eye, so we started to think ahead to the campaign, and back to what has or has not been accomplished by the B.C. Liberals in their first three years.

We will leave the list for the news pages of the future and focus more on perception here today.

Stilwell’s speech to the chamber last week revealed much. She is a much more confident speaker than she was three years ago, rarely referring to her notepad. She used to have her head buried in it, so much so that you could hear the pauses as she flipped it page to page.

What was a bit disconcerting about the speech last week, and her three years in general, is a lack of focus on Parksville Qualicum Beach issues. In fact, there was not one specific mention to a specific issue in her constituency. She continues to read from the B.C. Liberal hymn book, actually using the same phrases as the premier.

Perhaps, in Stilwell’s Victoria circles, that’s called staying on message, being a good team player. We say it certainly advances Stilwell’s career, but what does it do for her constituents?

Regular readers of this space know patience isn’t a virtue that we gleefully grasp. In the grand scheme of things, it’s possible Stilwell’s first term is all about her learning the ropes, getting in position (cabinet) to do some good things for her constituency in her next term. We hope that means some good-paying jobs and a diversification of the economy in Parksville Qualicum Beach in her second term, if she wins.

— Editorial by John Harding

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